Charlotte Bray: Chamber and Solo Works
Notes on the music by Charlotte Bray: A sense of distance links all five pieces, composed between 2011 and 2016. In the music, worlds, real and imaginary are encapsulated, touched and experienced. Occasionally, we feel tangibly close to the action, but often we are mere onlookers from afar- now locked in the icy waters of Zustände, where we find ourselves aurally trapped within the cracking ice, now isolated on the banks of On the Other Shore, calling across the water to a loved one where distance is felt most longingly. Inspired by Marco Polo’s depictions of Venice, water again is the fundamental element within Invisible Cities. Distance, in The Sun was Chasing Venus is felt from above, flying high in the skies, where movement and proximity are perceived very differently. Beyond also relates to this realm, outside the limitations of the world we inhabit. A principal fascination of composing for me is creating a journey through music, a secret, abstract narrative, where the listener is transported to another ‘place’, one that is not fixed, but varies from listener to listener.
Charlotte Bray’s compositions have been championed by numerous world-class ensembles and orchestras, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Britten Sinfonia, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra. Several renowned conductors have performed her work including Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Harding and Jessica Cottis.
You have an excellent collection of the young British composer Charlotte Bray, formed at the Brimingham Conservatoire, Royal College of Music, and distinguished with the composition awards of the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Lili Boulanger Prize. The compositions of Bray are revealed in the repertoire of remarkable formations, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden or the London Symphony Orchestra. The choice of these five pieces is particularly wise, given that there is a transversal aesthetic theme, a sense of distance that connects the real world and the imaginary world of the author. The allusions to water and ice are abundant. No de bades opens the album Zustände, a piano quartet in three parts, the first of which alludes precisely to one of these ice stages, broken, frosted, slowly disintegrating. The result is highly sensory, a snapshot of short phrases in acute records, suggesting ice when it is cracked, on a fluid bottom that represents the thickness of the glacier.