|The compelling emotional impact of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s music|
Turnage’s skilful fusing of jazz and classical idioms was immediately apparent as bass player Sam Anning and guitarist Carl Morgan joined drummer Benjamin Vanderwal in a funk rhythm while the woodwind and brass snapped out Stravinskian rhythmic offbeats. The fourth movement Sweet and Decay retained its powerful bass sound: two contrabassoons, two clarinets, double bass, timpani and gong created a satisfyingly deep reverberation while chilling solos from alto flute, soprano saxophone and viola completed the soundworld. In contrast Junior Addict and Elegy for Andy (written in memory of the composer’s brother) were sparse with the melancholic air of jazz ballads. Needles and Crackdown were particularly jazz-inflected with Carl Mackey delivering a sweetly swinging saxophone improvisation.
The intensity peaked in Cut Up where big band groove juxtaposed with fragmented instrumental lines, held together by Vanderwal’s flawless transitioning through complex time signatures. Dispelling the Fears concluded the audio rollercoaster with slow-moving block chords and a gradually ascending trumpet solo (Martin Phillipson), the final bars delivered with muted poignancy.