Dances of Our Time is the title of this disc - a (very!) colourful orchestral recording with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui. This is by no means the first “colourful” disc we have recorded with this team. Those who have listened to any of their previous recordings for BIS know just what an excellent orchestra it is – colourful in the best sense of the word. It plays with all the precision one could wish for but also with a sense of excitement that is not always the hallmark of well-oiled orchestral machines.
Dances of Our Time might be seen as an answer to those people who wonder whether the symphony orchestra really has anywhere to go after Mahler. Perhaps the answer lies in removing one’s musical blinkers and accepting that, while there may be no specific musical centre in the world today, music goes on wanting to communicate with us. But nowadays it finds its voice in all sorts of distant parts of the world. The fact that the voices represented on this disc come from afar means that we are not always familiar with the dialect that they employ. (With composers from Mexico, China, the USA and Poland the “linguistic” range is naturally quite extended.) But the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Lan Shui show an instinct for dialects and they readily convince the listener that contemporary orchestral music can be both pioneering and immediately enjoyable. Dance is, after all, the dominant expression of popular culture. The present disc shows that dance continues to be a natural expressive mode in art music too.