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Charlotte Bray (b.1982): 'At the Speed of Stillness' / Huw Watkins, piano; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group et al.

Notes & Reviews:

Sunday Times, 19th October 2014
These six works by a new British composer (b1982) attest a sharp ear and a vigorous imagination...Inspired by the image of hidden dynamism Bray finds in Sizewell power station and its radial treetop power lines, the music's inventiveness and textural control are unmistakeable.

Born in the UK in 1982, Charlotte Bray studied with Joe Cutler and graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with First Class Honours. Then, with Mark Anthony Turnage, she completed her Masters at the Royal College of Music in 2008 gaining a Distinction. She studied at Tanglewood Music Centre in 2008, and in 2011 was made an Honorary Member of Birmingham Conservatoire. She has won numerous prizes, including the RPS composition prize in 2010. During Bray's residency with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (2009/10), Alexandra Wood premiered her violin concerto Caught in Treetops under Oliver Knussen. The concerto appeared also in Aldeburgh Festival's closing concert in 2011. Bayan Northcott writes ... Charlotte Bray was 21 when she took to composing in earnest. Yet in scarcely more than a decade, she has built up a substantial catalogue of works in almost all the standard genres; built up, too, a professional reputation of a composer who works hard and always delivers. Not least, she has refi ned a compositional style and practice for herself, neither explicitly tonal nor atonal, but always cogent in its harmonic unfolding - token of an independent spirit from which much may be expected.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
These are relatively slow and deliberate, accompanied by the inventive combination of oboe/English horn, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, and cello. Such versatility across genres is impressive and is shown in other works here, including solo piano works and a sort of violin chamber concerto called Caught in Treetops (2010). The orchestration of this last is very crafty, and the high energy helps the record go out with a bang. Bray, a promising composer, is the recent recipient of a few fellowships and awards. This record, her first, is a sign of good things to come.



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