Yannis Kyriakides Ė Airfields (CD Mazagran)

Yannis Kyriakides is a Cypriot composer who was brought up from an early age in England and now resides in the Netherlands.

Airfields is a collection of 12 pieces for ensemble and electronics. What Yannis has done is take 12 satellite images and then turn those images into pieces of music. He uses a map of physical space as a direct analogy to a musical score  as the starting point. Yannis says ďThe idea was to trace some kind of movement with varying speeds through the sonic landscape, as if they were floating across it. The result being that the material which is played by the musicians, is characterized by differing velocities and rates of change, as if each instrument is orbiting around the material.Ē

There are a variety of set ups used in that some of the pieces are more ensemble based and other movements are for particular soloists.  I donít know how well this works in terms of it trying to convey satellite images as music. You can see the image that each movement is based on in the booklet accompanying the CD but really unless you know the part of the picture the music is supposed to begin from (i.e the left corner or the middle of the top of the picture etc) then youíre pretty much stumbling for how to gauge how well the concept works. Perhaps a separate picture with a musical score superimposed over it might have worked better.

The pieces themselves whilst being for ensemble and electronics could for me have made more use of the electronics elements that would have made the link between the use of satellite technology and music more intense but as it is the electronics seem to be fairly sparse and very much in the background. The main body of the work sounds very much like what it is: modern classical with those intervals that arenít major or minor thirds or fifths but are more jarring. There are elements here where I think of Steve Reichís Different Trains and other areas where maybe itís like Elliott Carter meets John Adams.

Itís all very listenable and Iíve come back to it a few times but doesnít really do enough for me to elevate it beyond listenable. DB

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