“‘White Man Sleeps’… is stirring stuff, sinewy and playful, particularly in the original scoring for harpsichord, viola de gamba and percussion… a contemporary classic”
Donald Hutera, The Times, 28th September 2005
“With its use of music from a variety of African traditions, never employed anecdotally but always filtered through Volans’ own musical personality, it remains wonderfully fresh and original.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 2nd November 2009
“[Volans’s] ‘African’ works typically show a great rhythmic intricacy, with an exquisite surface finish that’s born of a precision of gesture that makes them highly distinctive. The Smith Quartet, long-time advocates, gave [an] expert account.”
Michael Dervan, The Irish Times, 6th December 2004
“This marvellous piece was inspired by South African music, and one can hear faint echoes of call-and-response singing and the wheezy sound of Basotho concertinas. … [T]he substance had a human reality. You could feel coursing through the music the thrill of a different way of thinking and being.”
Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph, 25th November 2004
“‘White Man Sleeps’… has a particularly beautiful penultimate movement, with the viola playing a simple melody against pizzicato accompaniment.”
William Marshall, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 23rd November 2004
“Traditional African music has an existential quality which attracted me. It is essentially a music of being not becoming. It does not aim at transporting the listener, but reinforces and intensifies the here and now. The music is not conceptualised in any way. I took the liberty of approaching European music from the point of view of an African. This learning process led me to more flexible solutions. Shortly after writing these pieces I realised that style is not a way to begin a composition. Style is a red-herring; it can stand in the way of both the composer and the listener.”
— Kevin Volans
Kevin Volans is a pioneer post-minimalist composer – a contemporary of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Mike Heath and Louis Andriessen who does not identify as a “minimalist” per se but whose music includes elements also associated with the musical style that exploded in the 1970s and ’80s. His music came to international attention with the release of “White Men Sleeps”, a major hit for the Kronos Quartet when it was released on Nonesuch Records in 1987.
“Cover Him with Grass – In Memoriam Bruce Chatwin” was first released in 1990 on CD and has become an elusive collector’s item among new music enthusiasts. The recording includes not one but two performances of “white men sleeps”, in a riveting, energized recording by the Smith Quartet and in a hyper-percussive arrangement for harpsichord, viola daamba, and percussion.
Included is this digital/streaming release is the previously unissued, world premiere recording of “Matepe” for harpsichords and percussion.
This release will be a “must hear” for fans of new and avant-garde music!