Lontano Ensemble, St. John's
Meirion Bowen, The Guardian, excerpt

The Macnaghten concert series opened with a programme by Lontano that included works by Steve Martland and Gary Carpenter - two distinctive and vibrant musical personalities amongst today's younger generation of composers.

Neither piece could be conveniently categorised according to recent trends or fashions. Each tended to interweave a variety of stylistic traits and structural features.

Gary Carpenter's Die Flimmerkiste harked back to Webern in its formal layout and even to Schumann in its elements of portraiture, amounting almost to a latter-day Carnival. Conceived as a divertissement in three volumes, each divided into an abundance of tiny movements, it incorporated musical pictures of friends, a fairground scene with fireworks, all of which underwent a kind of filmic metamorphosis.

As in Martland's work, the effect of the musical interplay was more that of a montage than a clear-cut design - at least until volume three where a more direct and straightforward type of expression began to emerge.

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 © 2000 Gary Carpenter