Vic Hoyland

In Transit - Vixen CD Review - Sunday Times

In transit - Vixen

PD, Sunday Times, 10th March 2002

In transit - Vixen
BBC Symphony Orchestra, cond Martyn Brabbins
NMC D072

THIS LATEST release from the sainted British music label NMC – its policy is never to delete anything – provides an excellent showcase for the work of a too-little-known composer, born in 1945 and based for some years now at Birmingham University. The 17-minute In transit (1987), for double orchestra, while revealing the influence of the three B's of contemporary music – Boulez, Berio and Birtwistle – does so in a fascinatingly personal way. Across a landscape of abstraction, Hoyland sets great tutti melody rolling like a river, unexpectedly drawing close to, and renewing, the English pastoral tradition. Rhythmic combat between the groups dominates towards the positively Rite of Spring-like end. It is a hugely enjoyable piece, and the five-movement Vixen (1996) is hardly less so.