Monday, 1 December 2008

Tendrils, Colours, Dogs and Farts ... Arvo Part

Okay, so we've had a couple of literal takes on the falling theme. All well and good. But Heavy Soil ain't just about what it says on the tin, you know.

(You've read the tin, I presume? If not, you know what to do.)

So, let's have a listen (shall we?) to music that embodies – rather than simply referring to – the concept of descent.

(The Concept Of Descent. Prog-rock album-title, in the bag.)

For our embodiment of descent, then, a bit o' the contemporary classical, courtesy of the allround superb composer Arvo Part.

(Yes, it has the syllable fart in it. Grow up.)

Listen to those gossamer strings – vibrato-free, icy sonic tendrils. The way they seem constantly to strain wanly against the chords in which they find themselves bound, the melodies making futile sequential bids to rise, but being dragged ever deeper by the unremitting bass.

This is a beautifully conducted and performed recording – each entry impeccably timed, each phrase tapered with masterful control.

There's an elemental quality to the music ... earth and air ... wonderfully colourful orchestration.

Nowhere is the subsiding nature of the music better illustrated than in the passage beginning at 3.26 – built around a descending chromatic scale (series of semitone drops).

In the end, though, I suppose descent is escaped (though hardly triumphantly) – as the violins (with agonising slowness) climb to dog-whistlingly high reaches, settling finally on a faint, unwavering unison. But, what the hell. It's mostly about falling.

And wouldn't this just make cracking film music, eh?

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