Moody, Ethereal, Elegiac, Funereal, et cetera, et cetera

The music of Gavin Bryars is inevitably described using the words listed in the title of this post. And that’s not entirely inaccurate. But at the same time, that’d be like describing the music of Philip Glass as “repetitive” or Morton Feldman’s scores as “slow”. Yes, it’s slow-developing, and yes, it does seem drenched in melancholy. After all, one of his recordings is titled After The Requiem.

But there’s much more to it than that, and careful listeners will be well rewarded by his very thoughtful music. Some of Bryars’ music reminds me of a more tuneful George Crumb, actually. This particular piece is an adaptation of a instrumental interlude for a proposed (apparently never written) opera based on Thomas de Quincy’s The Last Days of Immanuel Kant.