© Clive Barda
© Clive Barda

Reviews for Staffa

09 December, 2017

Some great reviews so far:

“A highly pleasing collection of his orchestral works. With the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Jean-Claude Picard, the drama of the landscape is expertly envisioned, bringing to life the score's elements of seascape, natural environment and extraordinary location. Staffa is an album very much worth stopping to listen to.”

**** Carol Main, The List

“Hugely enjoyable, brilliantly orchestrated and performed… post minimalist abounding with good tunes , tightly constructed wonderfully accessible…Dance inspired Western music for centuries and it is wonderful to have a composer once again embracing dance forms in concert music…Without the images [the title piece] proves itself every bit a successful standalone concert work…the music expertly takes is us on an aural journey around the island, the immoveable rocks and caves, the ever changing sea and sky and the swooping birdlife. Bigham has a remarkable gift for orchestral colour and the RSNO under Jean Claude Picard clearly relish bringing the score to life. It is so refreshing to hear a disc by a British composer who is not afraid to write work for an audience to engage with. Britten who was so keen that his music should be ‘useful’ would be proud.”

Paul Jackson, British Music Society

“On any level Ned Bigham’s orchestral work is appealing to the ear, deftly sculpted and rich in topographical and philosophical suggestion…Bigham is clearly an accomplished arranger. To quote Bigham himself: “As a composer I am aiming to transport the listener into a different world and the islands in these titles are intended as metaphors for that escape. Visiting a small or exotic island, whether real or imaginary (and all the titles are in fact real islands), can offer a kind of isolation from the outside world, my intention is that the music might work in a similar way.” It is difficult for a listener to argue that Bigham has not convincingly achieved these goals. Bigham’s ear for colour works its magic again in Staffa [title piece]. The use of variation throughout successfully evokes the changes in shade and sound experienced on the island as the day proceeds. Staffa is a splendid piece which instantly conveys both the marine spirit and the enchantment of Fingal’s Cave. The disc as a whole, then, introduces a really enjoyable sequence of short works which provoke an authentic sense of island experience. On these two Aruna albums, Ned Bigham has quietly established himself as a master of the short orchestral tone poem.”


Richard Hanlon, Music Web International