Monday 9 April 2018

Journey to Nidaros

Journey to Nidaros
Alexander Chapman Campbell Journey to Nidaros; Alexander Chapman Campbell
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Mar 07 2018 Star rating: 3.0
Lyrical new classical music, inspired by a walk through Norway

Journey to Nidaros presents a sequence of nine piano pieces by the young Scottish composer/pianist Alexander Chapman Campbell, issued on his own label. The music describes a journey through Norway which Chapman Campbell undertook in 2015, walking from Oslo to historic Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Rather than being a reflection on the journey undertaken in quietude after the event, the pieces were written during the journey and Chapmen Campbell's notes in the CD booklet describe how coming upon pianos by accident led to the merging of musical ideas with the walk through Norwegian forests.

Each piece describes a particular moment, from the start at home through to the latter part of the journey. The cathedral itself is missing, this is a description of the wilds and the solitary aspects of such a walk. There are nine pieces in all, each around four or five minutes, making a total of 40 minutes.

This is very much in the new classical style, existing in the limnal zone between jazz, contemporary, pop and classical, its influences broad and combining classical ideas with structures from other musics, seamlessly blending styles.

Chapman Campbell's style is lyrical and rather romantic, with an elegant sense of melody. He creates an improvised feel to the pieces, his melodies start and sometimes never quite finish as you expect, but the music lacks the aimlessness of some improvised work and there is a clarity to it too. The melodic shapes suggest all sorts of popular music and more besides, an indication of the type of music that presumably Champman Campbell listens to.

Alelxander Chapman Campbell
Alelxander Chapman Campbell
The CD booklet contains Chapman Campbell's introduction to the music, along with a sort of diary of the pieces and some charmingly evocative sketches that he did along the way

Overall there is an artless charm, naive directness and openness to this music. I would not describe it as contemplative, but perhaps thoughtful would be a good word. There are big climaxes, but much of time its is contained, and rather poignant.

Alexander Chapman Campbell  - Journey to Nidaros
Alexander Chapman Campbell (piano)
Recorded at Potton Hall, 12 & 13 October 2017
ACC9614 1CD [41:00]
Available from Amazon.

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