Brough and Dankworth, Bungay

MICHAEL DRAKE Harvey Brough new work A Song of Love is, in the composer’s words, “an experiment with music”, and the essence of experiments is to find out what will happen.

MICHAEL DRAKE

To steal the use of a well worn phrase, the courses of love never run smooth and the dream of the hugely diverse Harvey Brough to work with a string quartet, realised last evening in his new work A Song of Love, commissioned by Wingfield Arts, is in a somewhat embryonic stage as yet. But it is, in the composer's words, “an experiment with music”, and the essence of experiments is to find out what will happen.

What happened in a piece which is not jazz, not classical but contemporary while not being avant garde, was a marriage of voices and instruments in a dozen songs reflecting Brough's many musical facets, more especially, it seemed, influenced by his composition for films.

The undoubted centrepiece was “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day” in which Jacqueline Dankworth's poignant singing over string chords and clarinet was quite moving with “Kiss and Part” the most emphatic and animated in what is essentially a thoughtfully sad song cycle.

Linked, but not continuous, the songs seem rather more upset by the gaps, causing a lack of continuity and in need of some fine tuning. But it is an interesting experiment, worth hearing again.

The second half was notable for How? and African Elegy, in which Dankworth was really able to use her unique vocal quality and control.

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t Harvey Brough and Jacqueline Dankworth were performing at St Mary's Church.