At First Light

1982

by George Benjamin

Barbican Hall, London, 1 April 2003
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/George Benjamin
‘… one of the most important composers of his generation… His conducting is defined by the same features that distinguish his music: a fastidious ear for detail and clarity, combined with an unerring sense of structure and pacing… his 1982 work, At First Light, scored for 14 players, is full of brilliant sounds and sensuous textures. Colour is a direct inspiration for this piece: the dazzling luminescence of Turner’s painting, ‘Norham Castle, Sunrise’. In the painting, colours and figures melt into one another; in Benjamin’s music sounds dissolve from solid melodies and gestures into fluid glissandos and unstable registers. The structure of the piece is similarly volatile, and the long final movement is structured as a series of waves that crests in an apocalyptic tam-tam stroke. Benjamin released an overwhelming power from the SCO players, as if they were 40 rather than 14 players.’
The Guardian (Tom Service), 3 April 2003


George Benjamin: At First Light
Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, Glasgow, 28 March 2003
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/George Benjamin
‘… an astonishingly intricate score packed with ingenious nerve-tingling effects…’
The Scotsman (Kenneth Walton), 1 April 2003

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