The English composer Steve Elcock (b. 1957) has been writing music since his teens, but with virtually no contacts in the musical world, told no one what he was doing – and thus has evolved a compelling symphonic style entirely his own, combining virtuoso orchestral writing with a sense of momentum that has its roots in the Nordic-British tradition of Sibelius, Nielsen, Simpson, Brian and similar figures. His Third Symphony is a vast canvas generating fierce energy and titanic violence, leavened at times by a sardonic sense of humour. Choses renversées par le temps ou la destruction is a dark symphonic triptych where fragile beauty is constantly at threat from the forces of ignorance. The breezy, buoyant Festive Overture, by contrast, has a Waltonian swagger that barrels on with relentless good humour.
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Paul Mann, conductor James Clark, leader Richard Casey, harpsichord Tracks 4, 6
Catalogue No: TOCC0400EAN/UPC: 5060113444004Release Date: 01.09.2017Composer: Steve Elcock Artists: Paul Mann, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Download the Booklet
Choses renversées par le temps ou la destruction, Op. 20 (2013) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0400/Track04.mp3
Festive Overture, Op. 7 (1997) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0400/Track07.mp3
Seth Blacklock :
The name Steve Elcock will not be familiar to most lovers of classical music, including afiçionados, but if there is any justice in the musical world, this situation will be reversed, and needs to be.
The first disc ever released of Elcock’s music is, to use a massive understatement, quite something. I can only echo what others more qualified than I have said: that it is remarkable that such individual, well-wrought and captivating music has had to lie in wait for decades to make it to recordings. Elcock’s masterful orchestrations are wonderfully imaginative, not a note (or a timbre, or compositional device) is wasted; the music is fresh, bracing, exciting, cinematic, intriguingly designed (and, in the case of one work, deconstructed); there is an immediacy to it which is enchanting and the listening experience leaves you wanting more. Further discs will be eagerly awaited.
I hope Elcock’s star will rise thanks to this recording and the diligence shown by conductor Paul Mann, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, label owner Martin Anderson and everyone else involved, but most especially because the composer’s music is thrillingly new, honest, personal and unencumbered by claims of derivation from other composers – claims that can sometimes hamper a composer’s voice. Add to this the, by turns, unassuming and immersive booklet notes by Elcock and Mann and the disc should, by rights, gain all involved the attention that their hard work deserves.
Elcock’s story is truly inspiring and I unreservedly recommended this release.
Stephen Pritchard :
“Steve Elcock (born 1957) is a phenomenon. … Now, championed by the conductor Paul Mann, we can start to savour this extraordinary mind. This first disc features his dark, titanic Third Symphony, its unstoppable energy brilliantly captured by the RLPO. … A triumphant debut recording.” –The Guardian, September 2017
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