NYCGB Young Composers 4
Works by Sun Keting, Thomas Metcalf, Ben Nobuto and Claire Victoria Roberts
NYCGB Fellowship; National Youth Choir of Great Britain/Ben Parry
NMC NMCDL3051 41:21 mins
In an era fraught with argument over the climate crisis, you might imagine an album themed on ‘the environment’ might be a little one-note, focusing on death, destruction and the end of humanity as we know it. Thankfully, the NYCGB Young Composers from the scheme’s 2022 cohort have responded to the topic here in a much more nuanced way.
Some celebrate the majesty of the natural world: Sun Keting’s Máng gŭ explores the sonorities of Chinese mountains, while Ben Nobuto’s Sol pays tribute to the sun gods. Claire Victoria Roberts sets music to poems by Emily Dickinson, using aspects of the natural world as metaphors for love and hope. Thomas Metcalf, meanwhile, feeds words like ‘environment’, ‘climate’ and ‘endangered’ into an AI poetry-writing application to create the text. The nonsensical results suggest the limits and fallibility of technology in providing a ‘solution’ to the crisis.
The National Youth Choir of Great Britain and its Fellowship Ensemble rise to the challenges of exposed lines, vocal drones and extended techniques, delivering superb dynamic control and ensemble tuning. While many of these new works share similar soundworlds, the range of concepts explored makes this a dynamic and engaging collection.