CD reviews

CD REVIEW: Faith Brackenbury – KnifeAngel

The Knife Angel sculpture by British Ironwork Centre and Alfie Bradley
Faith Brackenbury – KnifeAngel
(Lonely Duck Records. Review by Tony Dudley-Evans)

This is a beautiful record. It features a half hour suite with four movements composed by violinist/composer Faith Brackenbury inspired by the Knife Angel sculpture that is currently touring Britain. The sculpture was created at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry to raise awareness of knife crime and aggression, and consists of a 26 foot tall piece made up of 100,000 donated knives. It was constructed over two years at the Centre by the team there and designer Alfie Bradley.

The suite relates to the sculpture extremely well. The first movement begins with a bass theme stated by Oli Hayhurst that leads into a powerful, layered ensemble passage followed in turn by strong solos from Martin Speake on alto saxophone, Rob Luft on guitar, Alex Maguire on piano and finally Faith on violin. The movement ends with a powerful unison passage and a climax driven by Will Glaser on drums.

The second movement features a gentle ballad which leads into a passage with sax and violin together with the piano lines providing a very effective contrast. Then there are a series of call and response passages with violin and piano, and sax and guitar with an interlude of a bass solo. Finally the theme returns.

The third movement is much more upbeat and features a rocky section with piano, bass, guitar and drums before it segues into a gentler passage from the violin, and then into a strong climax.

The final movement features some very attractive writing from Faith and some excellent contemplative playing from piano and violin before building up to the climax of the piece.

Faith has brought together a very strong group for this recording and related touring. Martin Speake sounds particularly relaxed in this context and his playing blends very effectively with that of Faith Brackenbury. It is also wonderful to hear Alex Maguire’s very inventive solos and contributions to the ensemble in a more structured musical situation than those I have heard him in before.

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