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NONcertos by Richard Ayres

March 7, 2013

Richard Ayres has to be a peculiar character, at least that is what I think when I listen to his music, such a degree of originality is hard to find in the realm of contemporary music, a lot of aficionados blame its bleakness on Darmstadt, but just like many others of his colleagues Ayres studied there – Morton Feldman‘s classes, probably the best thing a young composer could find there – though you would never guess it when you hear the irony and playfulness constellating his music. The CD I am reviewing here was published three years ago by NMC Recordings and contains three works by Ayres, it received a rave review by Gramophone – an extract was featured on the CD coming with the magazine and it was there that I was so hooked that I bought it immediately – and I hope sooner or later there will be more recordings. In the booklet accompanying the disc Ayres says once an angry colleague told him that he is a composer of “rhapsodic music” – it was not meant as a compliment but Ayres liked it, I guess even the name of NONcerto he gives to his compositions has something to do with this idea of whimsical and improvisational music. Ayres is certainly playful but he is also undeniably serious about his art, there is much to enjoy here, the shifts of mood and rhythm, together with the unusual orchestration combine for an excitingly new musical experience.

You can listen to an extract from NONcerto for Horn here and buy the CD at Amazon.

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