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CD Review

Gordon Crosse

Purgatory - Opera in 1 Act

Peter Bodenham, tenor
Glenville Hargreaves, baritone
Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Northern College of Music/Michael Lankester
Lyrita SRCD313 40m ADD
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This is not my first encounter with Gordon Crosse's music as "Ariadne" (Lyrita SRCD259) was my initiation to the world of this most interesting of contemporary composers. His language is extremely intense and powerful, and his ability to merge words into music is quite superb.

premièred in 1966 at the Cheltenham International Festival, "Purgatory" was the composer's first venture into the operatic world. The work was an instant hit and brought the 29-year-old composer right to the top of the musical elite. The opera's plot is somewhat controversial, based on a short story by W.B. Yeats, where a father is in continual conflict with his bastard son. Still Crosse succeeds quite brilliantly in the exploration of the dark recesses of the human mind.

Although the 12-tone system is adopted, the end result is electrifying and leaves the listener rooted to his/her seat in the deepest thought. The performance is of the highest quality and will be extremely hard to match so for the time being this is definitely the version to have in your library.

Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech