Short-listed for the 2017 4BR ‘CD of the Year’ award, ‘Destination Moon’ finds Cory on riveting from under Philip Harper.
Substantive works from the pseudonymistic Paul Raphael, Bert Appermont, Thierry Deleruyelle and Jan de Haan form the core - each played with a commanding sense of technical and musical authority.
De Haan’s ‘Purcellian Fantasy’ (written for the Fourth Division of the Dutch National Championships) treads a well worn path of inspiration, but has a level of crafted inventiveness that enables the familiar thematic material to develop without losing its original character.
A strand of familiar awareness also weaves itself through Appermont’s ‘A Brussels Requiem’ - a vehement exploration of the horrific human impulse to destroy innocence - one marked by the deconstruction of the children’s song ‘Au Clair de la Lune’.
The four linked movements explore dichotomies of purity and evil, desolation and hope. A sense of understanding emerges through the vicious turbulence to end a stunning performance in vibrant, redemptive optimism.
The four linked movements explore the dichotomies of purity and evil, desolation and hope. A sense of understanding emerges through the vicious turbulence to end a stunning performance in vibrant, redemptive optimism.
There is certainly colour and excitement by the longboat-full in Thierry Deleruyelle’s ‘Viking Age’; a free-flowing work that touches on the who, what, where and when of the Scandinavian explorers and conquerors. The broad sweep of the writing (especially its close) makes for a user-friendly appreciation of the warrior merchant marauders whose mark on Europe and far beyond remains to this day.
Before the band fires into infinity and beyond for the MD’s own ‘Destination Moon’, there is some varied padding to enjoy.
The opening ‘A Hymn to New England’ and two excellent soloists in Glyn Williams and Aisla Russell (both suavely assured) are classy additions, although Peggy Lee would surely recoil in a cold sweat at Marc Jeanbourquin’s tepid arrangement of ‘Fever’ and ‘Balkan Dance’ could do with a bit more vocal meat on the bone.
The latter are easily skipped though to bring you to the coruscating finale - with the comic-book capers of the Belgian boy detective Tintin brought to primary-colour life with the sense of vigorous adolescent excitement Herge himself would have been chuffed to have penned.
Any narrative plot intricacies give way to sheer tour de force adventurism; leading to a brave, questioning ending that still packs a surprise even after the listeners have thumbed through the episodic pages time and time again. It’s an out of this world performance from an out of this world band.
1. A Hymn to New England (John Williams arr. Stephen Bulla) - (3.29)
2. Purcellian Fantasia (Jan de Haan) - (11.07)
3. A Brussels Requiem (Bert Appermont) - (15.45)
4. Dreamsong (Philip Sparke) - (5.01)
Soloist: Glyn Williams
5. Viking Age (Thierry Deleruyelle) - (11.21)
6. Moon River (Henry Mancini arr. Christopher Bond) - (4.39)
Soloist: Ailsa Russell
7. Fever (arr. Mark Jeanbourguin) - (4.02)
8. Balkan Dance (Etienne Crausaz) - (3.37)
9. Destination Moon (Paul Raphael) - (18.49)