Augusta Read Thomas: Ritual Incantations

The present collection of Augusta Read Thomas's works spans 18 years, from 1999 to 2017. It juxtaposes the two sides of Thomas that we've already encountered in previous volumes, the large-scale thinker in the cello concerto Ritual Incantations, the piano trio Klee Musings and the recent string quartet Chi, and the miniaturist in the six other works which on this disc act as satellites to the above-mentioned three larger works. Two sides that, paradoxically, seem to share more similarities than differences. Common to all the works collected here are the sunny, free-wheeling lyricism, luminosity, sense of colour, spontaneity, caprice, playfulness and spirituality which have long been ineradicable characteristics of her nuanced music, all tied up with an irrepressible energy and a sense of irreducible concision no matter how expansive the time frame, of taking all the time in the world to say everything that needs to be said in any given piece, but not a second more than that!


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“…the breadth of output here shows what I have been missing.”

 Chi for string quartet “packs some real intensity and passion with its four movements named after aspects of the life force. The Spektral Quartet gives an engaging, exciting and fully committed performance, one which helps to clearly identify Thomas as a master of the art form.”

 Qi for four percussionists playing two marimbas is “enjoyable and vibrant. The Third Coast Percussion players also seem to be enjoying the piece as they give a performance full of life and zest.”

 Dappled Things sets a text by the English poet and Jesuit Gerald Manley Hopkins, this is a strong text that deals with the glory of creation and the Glee Club are more than capable of bringing this wonderful setting to life.”

“This disc makes an excellent introduction to the music of Augusta Read Thomas, as it not only introduces the listener to the different aspects of her compositional style for different sized ensembles, but it also presents the works so well too, with each work being given a first-rate performance. The recorded sound is very good as are the booklet notes, if you haven’t heard her music this is a fine place to start, or to add to your collection of the music of this vibrant and engaging composer.” Stuart Sillitoe, MusicWeb 

“Thomas has produced a body of work that speaks to our hearts as well as our minds, and that constantly surprises and delights in its range, its beauty, and its magic.”

“The title comes from the album’s earliest work, a 1999 cello concerto in three movements. The soloist—call him a magician, an enchanter—seems to cast a spell over the orchestra in the first movement, gets hypnotized by them in turn in the second, and spends the third locked in a magical war of wits that produces one of Thomas’s finest and most exciting concertos.”

Thomas’s own brand of techne, or craftsmanship, is sufficiently advanced—as is the performance of Third Coast Percussion, who are always spellbinding to watch live…Their recording of brims with relentless energy. “ Jeremy Glazier, La Tempestad

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