Hellawell: Airs, Waters


Robert Plane (clarinet), RTÉ NSO/Pierre-André Valade, Fidelio Trio Delphian DCD 34114 ***

Piers Hellawell is a composer who’s never short of an illuminating word. He describes his 2008 clarinet concerto Agricolas as an example of his preoccupation with creating “a mosaic progress through a work made up of contrasted and diverse pieces,” and the 2004 Degrees of Separation for chamber orchestra as another kind of musical storytelling, expressed through “a single movement that curves from active, rhythmically driven music through gradual loss of pace to a closing stillness”.

For the listener, these pieces, strongly projected in performancehere, successfully live in the moment. The smaller pieces – Airs, Waters and Floating Islands (1995) and Basho (1995) for piano, Etruscan Games (2007) for piano trio, and Jan Palac and the Flaming Skier (1990) for violin and piano – have an off-the-shelf quality that’s altogether less interesting. url.ie/fhig