Bryars' beguiling bass concerto

The rich, dark soundworld of this album of works by Bryars and Tulev is well worth exploring for its strange beauty.

Composer: Bryars, Tulev
Repertoire: Silva Caledonia; Bass Concerto, et al.
Artists: Soloists, Estonian National Male Choir
Rating:   4/5
Genre: Instrumental/Vocal
Label: GB Records BCGBCD11

Bryars, himself a double bassist, explores the deep, mournful voice of the instrument in his Concerto, scored for low instruments and male choir. The music’s journey from what feels like profound, watery depths towards a surface of sparkling light is very beguiling. The rich, muscular voices of the Estonian National Male Choir revel in the physical impact of Bryars’s harmonies in the a capella Silva Caledonia triptych and turbo-charged part-song Ian the Broch. Tulev’s O Oriens utilises a mezzo-soprano, pungent dissonances and a winding, Eastern Orthodox line.