Review of LNT126: diffracted terrains: Chamber Music of Dorothy Ker
Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion
Dorothy Ker is a New Zealand composer who has lived in the UK since 1992. She describes her music as being 'attached to its liveness in space and to the creativity of the performer in making each sound anew in performance'. She has been awarded a Doctorate by the University of York under the supervision of Nicola LeFanu, and is currently Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. As a composer Dr Ker is seemingly well represented by this CD, devoted entirely to her work, and she herself explains in a booklet note that 'Creative preoccupations with form, space and memory appear in embryo ... and emerge in various manifestations throughout the disc.' As a creator she clearly expects her audience to regard her own verbal explanations of the background to her work as significant pointers in coming to terms with the meaning of the sounds she - and her performers - set before us, in the modern post-minimalist neo-High Romantic manner, rather than considering the music as a de facto event taking place in time, rather than in space or even a mixture of both, despite the 'liveness' (sic) she wishes it to convey. Having played this record quite a few times, I advise the interested music-lover to ignore the composer's comments on her work, and to experience each piece entirely as sound, for not everyone will have the time or the inclination to follow her literary self-justification. The genuinely interested music-lover will find much to stimulate and intrigue in these varied scores: underneath the diffracted terrains of the extra-musical stimuli which caused these works to come into being, there is a genuine composer here, one whose relevance to contemporary kunstwerk may yet make the big impact of which I feel, instinctively, she is capable.
She is honoured with superb commitment on the part of her interpreters.