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Pwyll ap Siôn
Gramophone, September 2013

THE SPECIALIST’S GUIDE TO…Minimalist and post-minimal opera # 10

The libretto of Van Gogh (a piece originally conceived as a video opera) is constructed out of texts from Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo. A powerful and disturbing post-minimalist opera, Van Gogh makes extensive use of dissonant repetitive patterns and jagged juxtapositions which serve to highlight the Dutch painter’s fragile mental condition. Alarm Will Sound under Alan Pierson deliver a bone-crushing performance, with telling contributions from Sarah Chalfy (soprano) and Matthew Hensrud (tenor). © 2013 Gramophone

Pwyll ap Siôn
Gramophone, June 2008

…the most striking feature of this dark, desolate and often disturbing work is its manifold use of repetition as a means of evoking the kind of madness which so plagued van Gogh’s life. Like the Dutch artist’s fragile mental condition, Gordon’s music often appears to be on the edge of chaos but never quite looses control. Indeed, compared with earlier works, Gordon treats this harrowing subject with more than a modicum of restraint. One is often reminded in the music of van Gogh’s arresting description, set towards the end of the work, of “a vague figure fighting like the devil in the midst of the heat”. © 2008 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

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