The Guardian festival blog: Orchestra of the RAM and the Juilliard School/Gardner review – order and beauty out of chaos | Music


Edward Gardner’s Prom with a combined orchestra of players from London’s Royal Academy of Music and New York’s Juilliard School opened with the UK premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos, first heard in New York last year. Forming part of the Proms’ exploration of music and space, it deals with “the speculative metaphor of falling into a black hole,” as Thorvaldsdottir puts it, and is rooted as much in human experience of the unknown as in the cosmic or metaphysical.

A work of paradoxes, it seeks to create order and beauty out of chaos. Its opening phrases heave upwards over a low percussive rumble, before brass chords eventually anchor the music in rhythmic inexorability. At its centre is a broad cello melody of astonishing directness, but its contours and harmonies are repeatedly pulled out of shape by a dissonant countermelody on the upper strings. Gardner conducted with admirable surety, and the orchestra…



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