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Ian Stewart | Islas

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Classical: Chamber Music Classical: Contemporary Moods: Instrumental
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by Ian Stewart

Contemporary Classical Chamber Music
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Islas
3:24 $0.99
2. Astral Hurdy-Gurdy:I.
8:43 $0.99
3. Astral Hurdy-Gurdy: II.
2:51 $0.99
4. Astral Hurdy-Gurdy: III.
8:45 $0.99
5. Mornwards
4:43 $0.99
6. Sonata For Violin and Piano: I.
7:50 $0.99
7. Sonata For Violin and Piano: II.
4:42 $0.99
8. Sonata For Violin and Piano: III.
4:14 $0.99
9. Sonata For Violin and Piano: IV.
4:43 $0.99
10. Lime Groves of South Kensington: I.
5:32 $0.99
11. Lime Groves of South Kensington: II.
4:14 $0.99
12. Lime Groves of South Kensington: III.
8:34 $0.99
13. As Far As You Can See
3:25 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Ian’s desire here was the creation of contemporary yet tuneful chamber music, with most of the tracks written with Kyle Horch (saxophones) Guillem Calvo (violin) and Pavel Timofjevsy (piano) in mind. Woven into the violin sonata are themes, harmony and phrasing with a provenance in Celtic and psychedelic music. It’s composed in a traditional 19th Century style with much use of rubato and flexible tempos. The delays often found in electronic music can be heard in Astral Hurdy-Gurdy. In Limes Groves the piano imitates the Autoharp (prominent in Bluegrass music), with each instrument providing a pulsing part somewhere in the textures. The title track Islas (Spanish for Islands - with Ian enjoying Spain and Malta when he can escape London) is influenced by ambient/new age music. The piano creates a dreamy texture over which the soprano sax plays long melodic lines. As well as composing music ranging from classical and jazz to electronica and new wave - Ian plays keyboards, trombone and bass guitar - alongside new instruments like turntables and laptops. His classical saxophone compositions have been played by Saxploitation and John Harle with the Brodsky Quartet. Ian has always had a passion for unconventional instrumentations - his first album San Gejtanu on the Music Chamber label featured Kyle Horch alongside an octet of violins and violas.



to write a review

Alison Owen-Morley

Clarinet and Saxophone Society Magazine - Spring 2011
This collection of contemporary chamber music by British composer Ian Stewart is his second release on this label. It features six compositions for saxophone, violin and piano in various combinations – three short pieces and three more substantial works in several movements. The saxophone is clearly an instrument that appeals to the composer, who has written extensively for sax ensembles large and small, and here the soprano and tenor saxophones are eloquent communicators in the hands of Kyle Horch.
This is an album that wears its heart on its sleeve; with a complete absence of liner notes it was possible to deduce from the music and artwork alone a lot of information about the composer that on subsequent investigation proved to be accurate. This is melodic contemporary music, with a Celtic flavour, minimalist elements and influences from the world of pop, psychedelia, and electronica. Both the saxophone and violin are close to the human voice in expression, and many of these pieces have a song-like quality.
The three instruments appear in disguise as another in both the aptly named Astral Hurdy Gurdy and Lime Groves of South Kensington with its autoharp sounds. The former features much use of repeating figures, rhythmic unison and open fifths, and showcases the soprano in simple or decorated melodies, often reminiscent of a traditional Scottish tune. In the latter, with its Eastern feel, Kyle Horch displays the range of the tenor personality, soft and clarinettish at times and elsewhere with a contrasting poppy edge.
The violin sonata is thought-provoking and full if ideas. Among the shorter pieces, the title track is thoughtful and meditative with a decorated soprano melody, while Mornwards and As Far As You Can See are simple and pastoral with the instant appeal of a pop song. This music is atmospheric, evocative, sometimes hypnotic; occasionally meandering, it reminded me of a patchwork quilt of thematic material. Overall the CD offers an enjoyable listening experience and a relaxing wind-down at the end of the day.