Reviews for Mysteries of the Horizon

A review by John Maines (CD Review – The Brass Herald December 2012 – January 2013)
Harmen Vanhoorne (Cornet), Brass Band Buizingen conducted by Luc Vertommen. Disc Title: Fortunes Fool – Band Press VOF 88906-2

Two pieces follow from the pen of Nigel Clarke, the unaccompanied Premonitions and the four movement Mysteries of the Horizon. Premonitions consists of three prophetic fanfares and demonstrates Vanhoorne’s consummate command of his instrument. Mysteries of the Horizon takes its inspiration from four paintings by Belgian artist René Magritte. As with the famous work by Mussorgsky, the titles of the paintings give the names to the movements:- The Menaced Assassin, The Flavour of Tears, The Dominion of Light, and The Discovery of Fire. This is writing of the highest virtuosic standard, played brilliantly and is, for me, the highlight of the disc.

A review by Paul Hindmarsh (Critics Corner – The British Bandsman 14/09/12)
Harmen Vanhoorne (Cornet), Brass Band Buizingen conducted by Luc Vertommen. Disc Title:Fortunes Fool – Band Press VOF 88906-2

In Nigel Clarke’s Premonitions, the spotlight is thrown completely on the soloist, whose `prophetic’ fanfares’, as Clarke describes them, `reflect the direction’ in which the modern world is travelling.’ The subtlety of Harman’s playing – the way shades of expression are nuanced from snippets of fanfare and lyrical response – is of the highest class. In the best sense, he combines the forthright presence of the trumpet with the warmth of the cornet.
Premonitions acts as the ideal prelude to the most substantial work on the album – Mysteries of the Horizon, a 22 minute concerto in four movements, again by Nigel Clarke. During the time he has lived in Brussels, Clarke has built a strong artistic relationship with Brass Band Buizingen. Written especially to showcase the multi-facetted playing of Harmen Vanhoorne, the concerto takes as it’s expressive starting point four paintings by the Belgium surrealist, René Magritte (1898-1967). Clarke responds to the first, The Menaced Assassin, with music full of drama, edge and dissonance. Fanfares based on the devilish tritone dominate the scene. Rather like the much less flamboyant but equally demanding Sinfonia Concertante by Heaton, the soloist kept busy throughout. In The Dominion of Light, the transparency of the writing and the emphasis on high percussion and cornets, lifts the mood. In The Flavour of Tears, Harmen’s lyrical and rubato style is emphasised. In the finale, The Discovery of Fire, the music spits fire in a relentless moto perpetuo. The soloist is spellbinding and the band so colourful and controlled.

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