Pan Magazine

This is a fascinating CD of contemporary music by a composer at the cutting edge of his art. Here is music of penetrating intellectual achievement from a mind capable of using music to realise complex musical concepts with crystalline three-dimensional clarity. This is not done without cost, for the technical demands made on musician and instrument take both to the point of collapse, but it seems as if it is at this very point of collapse that Clarke finds his true voice. Assembled for this CD are some of the finest virtuoso exponents of their instruments available, and obviously, the instrumentalist who interests us most closely is the flautist Janne Thomsen. Here lies the second good reason for buying this CD, for Thomsen’s playing is truly lovely. Her warm expressive and infinitely varied sound, with its astonishingly wide dynamic range, and her transcendental technique actually seem to hold a magnifying glass up to the music. The titles give very little clue to the nature of the pieces and one suspects a kind of Magritte-esque perversity in the choice of wrapping for the parcel. Echo and Narcissus is not so much a representation of the Ovid Metamorphosis, as a jolly good flute piece with a nice name. I would not mind getting hold of the music. Chinese Puzzles is an even better and more complicated musical conundrum, but has a sharp-edged, almost brutal aggression not revealed in the title, but positively belted out by Janne Thomsen. A CD comprising of 7 separate pieces, but well worth buying at any price for just two of them (even though the rest of the music is just as good) has to be wonderful value and I highly recommend it.

—Leslie Sheills