Hot on the heels of Anne-Catherine Gillet’s performance of Les Illuminations ( comes another, quite different one from the Finnish coloratura soprano Anu Komsi. My suspicion that Britten wasn’t totally in sympathy with Rimbaud’s poetry is unsupported by documentary evidence, but in my own case there is no doubt: Rimbaud prevents me from fully appreciating the work. This performance has come as close as any to convincing me, however. The opening is crucial. The title is “Fanfare”; that is just what the strings should deliver, and my goodness, they certainly do. Anu Komsi’s is a big voice, easily capable of reaching the farthest corners of those opera houses that are her regular venues, and she uses it to dramatic effect in the “motto” at the end of “Fanfare”.
British composer Jonathan Harvey has all the credentials of a classic modernist, and while his music would never be described as making the slightest concession to the New Accessibility of the late 20th century, the attractive, colorful surfaces of his work coupled with unerringly visceral intuitive development makes him a composer who can appeal to more than just hardcore new music aficionados. (…) The BBC Scottish Symphony, led by Ilan Volkov, plays with a confident mastery of the demanding scores and a sensitivity to their mercurial shifts and transformations. NMC's sound is clean, detailed, and present. (The composer recommends that listeners take a pause between the pieces, to surround each with a cleansing silence.)