It’s good to have a record of some recent orchestral music by Raymond Yiu (born 1973).
In these BBC Symphony Orchestra concert tapings (applause removed), the first work, The London Citizen Exceedingly Injured (2012), is a scintillating scherzo, neon-coloured, incident-packed, likeably quirky and stylistically quick-change (including a dance-band episode: reminding of Peter Maxwell Davies’s St Thomas Wake and its inclusive foxtrot), always engaging. David Robertson conducts a virtuoso performance at the Barbican.
Also captured in the City is The World Was Once All Miracle (2017) for baritone, the superb Roderick Williams. Sir Andrew Davis takes charge of a gripping and graphically orchestrated work, as eloquent as it is dramatic, settings of poems by Anthony Burgess (texts included in the comprehensive booklet), and which holds the attention throughout, ending with a bittersweet nightclub number.
Finally the premiere (at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall) of Yiu’s half-hour Symphony (2015), Edward Gardner presiding, and requiring the services of a countertenor, Andrew Watts – with that vocal feature, and the subject of love, we could at times be in Michael Tippett’s Knot Garden. Playing continuously, Symphony covers a lot of ground over its six sections, the composer refusing to be predictable or stuck in a rut – from exhilarating to ravishingly expressive via countertenor as jazz-singer. Maybe it shouldn’t add up … but it does: Symphony climaxes ecstatically and the otherworldly close is haunting.
Excellent/vivid sound throughout on Delphian DCD34225.