CR055 Elements Of London Cover

Lewis & Shrapnel: Elements of London (CR055)

Review by Nick Boston, Classical Notes

Listen and buy now on Convivium Records

The Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble (pianists Natalie Tsaldarakis and Panayotis Archontides) and composers Hugh Shrapnel (b.1947) and John Lewis (b.1947) were completely unknown to me, so their new disc, Elements of London, combining movements from two collections by the composers, was a total voyage of discovery. Lewis’ pieces (Elements) are all inspired and named after chemical elements, whilst Shrapnel’s (London) are all associated with people, places and even politics of South London – hence the combined title of the disc – and they are mixed together to form an overall programme. Despite their differing inspirations, the pieces fit together remarkably well, with influences of minimalism, jazz and blues cropping up throughout. Lewis makes use of insistent rhythmic repeated chords in Niobium, and minimalist influence is most evident in Mercury and Phosphorus. Yet there are Latin-infused rhythms in Chlorine, and hints of Shostakovich in the gently romping Cerium. Shrapnel’s pieces are more overtly expressive, such as the atmospheric Ladywell Station(surely quoting Misty) with its background train whistles, and the plaintive, lamenting In Memoriam Jane Clouson. Dad’s Army even makes an appearance in Hunt Hunt, a defiant political piece dedicated to the Save the Lewisham Hospital Campaign. The pieces have been sensibly curated here, with energy and drive contrasting with more lyrical and atmospheric movements. Few pieces are longer than five minutes, yet they are surprisingly effective in capturing a mood or energy. Tsaldarakis and Archontides have clearly developed a strong affinity for this music, and a close relationship with the two composers, and their performances are strong throughout, contrasting well the thicker chordal textures with bright melodies (often in bell-like octaves), and enjoying the jazz-infused melodies. A very enjoyable discovery.

Nick Boston, Classical Notes, October 2020

Further information

Classical Notes

classical-notes

Nick’s Classical Notes is a blog containing reviews of recordings and concerts, as well as articles about composers, compositions and upcoming events.  The emphasis is on western classical repertoire, but Nick is open to many genres of music. Nick has an MA in Music, specialising in performance and repertoire. He is passionate about choral, chamber and orchestral music, and opera, with a particular interest in early music. He sings in a number of choirs in the south east of England, plays the piano and occasionally dusts off the violin. He also writes about music for Bachtrack and GScene magazine.

Visit website: Classical Notes

Convivium Records

Convivium Records

Convivium Records (est. 2009) is committed to working with exceptional artists and composers to record and share their music. It recognises that a great recording project needs to establish a balance between artistic aspirations and commercial expectations. In addition to commercial releases, the label takes on private projects for schools, charities and other institutions.

Convivium Records involves musicians and composers in all decisions relating to their projects. For instance, this may include initial discussions about a new album, to recording, distribution, promotion and marketing.

At the heart of Convivium Records is a dedicated team, each of whom bring their expertise to projects as required. Above all, the Label’s ambition is to exceed the expectations of their clients by creating recordings that reflect their true potential.

Media Enquiries, Review Copies & Contact
For press enquiries, information, or to request review copies of this work, please visit: www.conviviumrecords.co.uk/contact

Or contact Mike Cooter, Communications Director: mike@conviviumrecords.co.uk | T. 07941 871258

For latest news, follow Convivium Records on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ConviviumRecords

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ConviviumUK