Land’s End Chamber Ensemble with James Campbell – Gravity and Grace: Music by Allan Gordon Bell


As one of Canada’s most illustrious composers Calgary native Allan Gordon Bell has laurels to spare. That doesn’t mean he’s been resting on them however. Gravity and Grace includes world première recordings of four instrumental works. They range from Sweetgrass completed in 1997 to Field Notes which James Campbell and the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble commissioned for this recording in 2012. Bell has always found his inspirational sources in the natural world and not just sunny landscapes — Bell delights in the savage and the strange aspects of nature and of the creatures who inhabit it. Trails of Gravity and Grace the title work traces the ascent of a wild hawk on the prairies contrasting primal gestures against spare minimalist textures. A range of explosions enlivens the three movements of the piano trio Phénomènes based on painted sculptures by Canadian artist Paterson Ewen. The Land’s End players with guest clarinetist James Campbell revel in the music’s spiky energies and unusual demands. They’ve clearly absorbed the aesthetic of these pieces and their underlying explorations of time and spirituality. This recording commemorates Bell’s 60th birthday and it documents some of his most powerful and enduring works.