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Crane, Laurence / Apartment House: Chamber Works 1992-2009 [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

A double CD of UK's experimental music ensemble Apartment House performing 14 chamber pieces composed by and under the supervision of Laurence Crane, beautiful and informed minimal work from a unique voice in modern composition.
 

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Personnel:



Laurence Crane-composer

Apartment House


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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at74x2
Squidco Product Code: 19185

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Recorded at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, the University of Huddersfield and St Paul's Girls' School, London, September to December 2013 except "Bobby J' which was recorded in Hoby, Leicestershire in August 2013, and 'Riis' which was recorded at Church of St Silas, Kentish Town, London in March 2004.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"One of the several mysteries of Laurence Crane's music is how its apparently normalised structure subverts itself. This is often music of tonal harmony and four bar phrases - and, for the most part standard classical instrumentation. It never goes on too long. It is hardly ever abrupt or unexpected. Logical. Clear. Orderly. Quiet. Yet it is also, to my ears, quietly crazy, even absurd in its extremely understated way.

It would not surprise me if someone hearing the music for the first time would say something like, "It sounds like ordinary music." This ordinariness is right there on the surface. But if I have learned anything from Laurence's music it is that "the ordinary is not." I've also never run into anyone who knew his music who thought it was as simple as it appeared. Why is that?

There are the titles. Andrew Renton Becomes An International Art Critic. Derridas. Ethiopian Distance Runners. and so on, embedded into the more mundane sounding ones. Pieces are sometimes named after people: Erki Nool, Raimondas Rumsas. Bobby J. - and it does seem to me that the titles name the pieces in ways that are more than humorous or droll. They are like the way people are named. Gradually the music comes to fit its name.

When I play a Crane piece for the guitar or the piano, I start to feel that the most basic features of tonality become something like a fetish. A major chord in 2nd inversion, a suspension, or a simple movement in voice leading: those things that most composers of our age learned at the very beginning of our training. They have the fascination of a raw material, but we were encouraged to move along past them, not to dwell on such apparently simple objects. However when you look at them closely, under the microscopes of isolation and repetition, such things can seem to be the real miracles of music. The machinery that makes the 2nd inversion chord unstable always works; it is so infallible that it borders on comedy. Laurence's music, for all its good humor, also has a sense of awe for those small mechanics.

In a way, they are a little like readymades. The individual elements in the abstract can usually be found somewhere else. And it seems to me that Laurence takes great pleasure in making the distance between a tonal cliché and the material used in his piece as small as possible. (An aesthetic of inserting a molecule of foreign substance into the flour, water, yeast and salt.) But this very slight twist that Crane gives in voicing or instrumentation - or simply the placement of an element, is enough to render the commonplace odd; or to return it to its original, inexplicable and much greater oddity.

The work does not invite interpretation by the listener by involving her in complexities to resolve. It demands to be broken open. It exhibits what Reza Negarestani has called "a rigorous and twisted mode of closure." Hermetic and a bit distant, with a beauty fragile enough that one is afraid to get close - calling up (once again) an artist who to me seems like the odd uncle to Crane: Marcel Duchamp. The airtight container that gets punctured briefly any time one chooses to listen; but only to be resealed, just as fresh, for the next time. It laconically refuses to give anything away.

This is not minimalism. It does not take justification in "less is more" or "only what is necessary". It takes us beyond those points: it is less than necessary. It says, basically, nothing is necessary. And perhaps, also, "let's be happy with this." "-Michael Pisaro


Artist Biographies

"Laurence Crane was born in Oxford in 1961 and studied composition with Peter Nelson and Nigel Osborne at Nottingham University, graduating in 1983. He lives and works in London. His music is mainly written for the concert hall, although his list of works includes pieces written for film, radio, theatre, dance and installation.

He is closely associated with the British ensemble Apartment House, who have to date given around forty performances of his works. He has composed two pieces especially for the ensemble; Riis and John White in Berlin, the latter commissioned in 2003 by the MaerzMusik Festival in Berlin. The personnel of Apartment House include players who have been regular collaborators for many years; clarinettist Andrew Sparling, flautist Nancy Ruffer, pianists Sarah Walker and Philip Thomas, guitarist Alan Thomas and cellist Anton Lukoszevieze, who is the director of the ensemble. Crane's output includes solo works written for some of these performers, including Bobby J, for Alan Thomas, Raimondas Rumsas, for Anton Lukoszevieze, and Sparling, for Andrew Sparling. Apartment House have presented two portrait concerts of his work; in October 1998 at the Three Two Festival in New York City and in October 2001 at The Warehouse in London as part of the BMIC's Cutting Edge series, a concert that was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3's weekly new music programme Hear and Now.

Piano music has been an important feature of his work and pianists who have performed his solo piano pieces include Michael Finnissy, Marc Couroux, Tim Parkinson, halia Myers , Jonathan Powell, Sarah Nicolls, Andrew Zolinsky and John McAlpine. Two of his piano pieces, Chorale for Howard Skempton and Postlude, were commissioned by the Associated Board for publication in the Spectrum series. Michael Finnissy has recorded Crane's complete piano music for future release. Performers of chamber works have included Ruth Wall, Rhodri Davies, Tom Pauwels, Claire Edwardes, Duo Contour, Lore Lixenberg & Dominic Saunders, IXION, Lontano, Noszferatu, COMA, Bradyworks (Montreal), Continuum Ensemble (Toronto), Ensemble Offspring (Sydney) and the London Sinfonietta. The Canadian new music group Ensemble Kore gave a portrait concert of Crane's work in Montreal in September 2005. The Auckland-based ensemble 175 East have given a number of performances in New Zealand, including radio broadcasts of See Our Lake and Sparling NZ on Concert FM. The Dutch group Orkest de ereprijs commissioned Movement for Ensemble in 2002 and gave the premiere in Amsterdam, at the Gaudeamus International Music Week. Following this performance the Ives Ensemble commissioned Movement for 10 Musicians, a new version of the earlier work, for collaboration with Rotterdam Dance Works, which toured the Netherlands in the spring of 2004. Crane has composed two further works for Dutch musicians in 2006; Ullrich 1 and 2 for Orkest de Volharding and West Sussex Folk Material, for the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. In early 2007 he composed a set of pieces for the Vigani's Cabinet project, a unique three-year programme of new commissions for Queens' College Cambridge.

Laurence Crane's music has been presented at festivals in Britain and abroad, including Bath, Brighton, Cheltenham, Huddersfield, The Cutting Edge (London), MaerzMusik (Berlin), Ultima (Oslo) and ZaterdagMatinee (Amsterdam). Several of his works have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 including Trio (written for Topologies), See Our Lake (written for IXION and for the first concert of the BMIC's Cutting Edge series), Weirdi (commissioned by Tapestry), Events (commissioned by the BBC for the experimental programme Between the Ears), Four Miniatures (commissioned by Noszferatu) and John White in Berlin (performed by Apartment House at a BBC Invitation Concert)."

-British Music Collection (https://britishmusiccollection.org.uk/composer/laurence-crane)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



CD 1

1. Sparling (1992) 5:37

2. Trio (1996) 5:50

3. Raimondus Rumsas (2002) 5:49

4. See Our Lake (1999) 2:55

5. See Our Lake (1999) 3:28

6. Sparling (1992) 5:21

7. Riis (1996) 10:12

8. Bobby J (1999) 8:24

9. Sparling (2000) 6:15

10. Estonia (2001) 3:57

11. Estonia (2001) 3:41

12. Estonia (2001) 4:27



CD 2

1. Seven Short Pieces - I (P: Apartment House) 1:35

2. Seven Short Pieces - II (P: Apartment House) 1:12

3. Seven Short Pieces - III (P: Apartment House) 1:22

4. Seven Short Pieces - IV (P: Apartment House) 1:27

5. Seven Short Pieces - V (P: Apartment House) 1:20

6. Seven Short Pieces - VI (P: Apartment House) 1:55

7. Seven Short Pieces - VII (P: Apartment House) 1:50

8. Piano Piece No.23 'Ethiopian Distance Runners' (P: Apartment House) 21:50

9. Four Miniatures - I (P: Apartment House) 1:36

10. Four Miniatures - II (P: Apartment House) 2:26

11. Four Miniatures - III (P: Apartment House) 1:13

12. Four Miniatures - IV (P: Apartment House) 2:56

13. Come Back To The Old Speciment Cabinet John Vigani, John Vigani (P: Apartment House) 11:13

14. John White In Berlin (P: Apartment House) 13:29

Related Categories of Interest:


Compositional Forms
Large Ensembles
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes

Search for other titles on the label:
Another Timbre.


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