Dustin O´Halloran, Lumiere (130701)
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home news reviews events artists labels releases mailing lists everything If not exactly a new wave, then at least a ripple of young composers have, in the wake of the late Henryk Górecki´s bona fide worldwide hit Symphony #3, turned their backs on angular modernism and decided to give feeling another try. Breaking with the twentieth century predilection for systems is in keeping with late-modern skepticism toward all grand narratives, whether they be political, social or artistic. Instead, much like the Pre-Raphaelite painters of the mid-19th century, these composers seek to convey meaning through the emotional content of the very essence of their art – colour, detail, and mimesis; that is, being of nature and man rather than observing them at a distance. Some have been very successful in melding emotions - all of them, including humour and sadness, joy and regret - and meaning, like Max Richter, Sylvain Chauveau, Nils Frahm, and Nico Muhly. Others have tipped too far over into sentimentality. American composer Dustin O´Halloran is quite new to listeners, whom he captivated with his contributions to the soundtrack of Sofia Coppola´s ”Marie Antoinette”. He has two solo piano collections to his credit, but neither garnered the popular approbation Lumiere has. For his premiere recording on Fat Cat´s specialist imprint 130701 (which has also championed Richter and Chauveau), O´Halloran is aided ably by Jóhann Jóhannsson and Peter Broderick, who aside from his own fascinating, burgeoning discography has helped lift the work of brilliant young pianist Nils Frahm into the light (who, look at that, even has a finger in here, helping out with the engineering). O´Halloran moves lightly at the keyboard, mostly piano but also celestina and celeste, which both he and Jóhannsson treat electronically with the utmost restrained delicacy, and Broderick adds some autumnal violin, swirling round the trunk of one piano theme like gracefully falling leaves. It all comes together so simply but so richly, like the strong colours of a Dante Gabriel Rossetti canvas, on "Fragile No. 4", which is almost the portrait of a sensiblity. The very end is gorgeous. Someone left the mic out in the rain. After the final notes of O´Halloran´s piano die out, we hear the faint rustling of wind. Attention to detail. http://www.fat-cat.co.uk Posted by Stephen Fruitman at 23:06, 04 Mar 2011