Reviews

Selected reviews, full list available here

Cave

Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 21 June, 2018

Davies's ambitious dystopia is small only in size… The opening music establishes a sense of place immediately, layering low, ominous notes, a calming harp, and high, skittish figures. Perhaps there are bats overhead, but if so they are representatives of nature, not horror film set-dressing: the harp music, here and throughout, suggests peace and warmth, and the cave, though mysterious, also sounds like a place of safety. The man claps and whistles as if to test the size of the cave, and Davies’s electronic manipulations pick up the sounds and send them spiralling out beyond the ceiling. The music is transparent, brazenly beautiful and much use is made of the Sinfonietta’s players as soloists, weaving elaborate individual lines alongside the vocalists.

The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, 21 June, 2018

The space is astounding – a soaring cathedral nave deep inside the womb of a decommissioned printworks… A portentous parable of the catastrophic mess we are wantonly making of our planet… A cave is a place of echoes, and here the man imagines and hallucinates and remembers, before receiving an admonishing message from the ghost of his eco-warrior daughter. Finally, there is some personal consolation, but no redemption from a scorched and atrophied world… Inspired by visits to the painted caves at Niaux, Drake’s libretto is powerfully resonant, a poem rather than a plot and clearly very deeply felt… a shimmeringly atmospheric soundscape… What one is left with is often beautiful in sound, a threnody always haunting and unsettling in implication.

As with Voices and With Tears

Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 21 November, 2010

While bells, birdsong and footsteps murmur in and out in electronic interjections, singers and orchestra move as separate flocks on the wing, forming and reforming in large shapes that stream across the desolate landscape of the poem. The young choir sang this haunting, richly textured, mesmerising requiem with a flair and precision way beyond their years in a most remarkable act of remembrance.

Between Worlds

Jonathan Lennie, Time Out, 14 April, 2015

Tansy Davies first foray into opera tackles one of the most pivotal events of our age: the attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001. The result is a musically superb meditation on grief and transcendence... Davies’s music, which knits perfectly with jagged choral polyphony incanting the Requiem Mass and ‘De Profundis’ – reminiscent of Ligeti. It oozes confidence and creates a shifting, fragmented soundscape.

Forest

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times, 28 April, 2017

The orchestral writing is reminiscent of that of Peter Eotvos, an alluringly blended sound of great plasticity that appears to throb and breathe like a living organism.

The solo parts rarely stand out clearly, but seem partly obscured by the orchestral texture, much in the way moving objects in a forest are perceived in flashes behind branches and foliage. Often the four horns build up gestures in slightly delayed sequence, allowing the instruments’ attacks to glance off one another. At nearly half an hour, the single-movement work maintains a poetic tension throughout.

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