I've been enjoying listening to Anthony Ritchie's recently-released CD, Octopus. Because I tend to assimiliate music these days, more than listen directly to - by assimiliate, I mean, I'll have three CDs playing on a continuous cycle, and will often listen to them over and over during a period of some weeks - I get to know the music without giving it full attention. Probably not the ideal method, but perhaps no different to those listeners of old who first heard Mozart and Bach and Beethoven while having their coffee or talking to each other about the latest social gossip in the court of various dukes and such. And at least I have the opportunity for repeated listenings.
Octopus itself is a delightful work, an octet, with five string players, a bassoon, horn and clarinet. The opening has a wonderful underwater feel (though whether I'd think that if I didn't have the title to give me some indication is another matter), with a sense of the creature of the deep swinging its way through its world. And there are repetitions throughout of a high string swing between two notes that has an eerie feeling in the context, and evokes all sorts of ideas.
Rites of Passage is for bassoon and string quintet, and, while I'm aware of it, it hasn't quite worked its way into my brain yet; nor has the String Quartet no 2. They'll come in due course.
The piece for flautist (I hate that word 'flutist' - it's like saying someone 'authored' a book) is intriguing. Alexa Still plays flute, piccolo and taonga puoro on it, with a hint in the background of natural sounds, such as waves on a shore, or wind....
Meantime, this has proved to be a pleasing disc to buy.