Greek-born composer Nikolas Labrinakos has come to my attention recently. After growing up in Greece, he went to London to study music composition, eventually getting a Ph.D. from the University of Surrey. He is an active composer of both film music and concert music, and what I’ve heard of his is fascinating and atmospheric, displaying a gift for shimmering, evocative string writing.
The present work, The Last of England, is a pastoral work in the tradition of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth, and Gerald Finzi. The piece is inspired by the seascape of England’s southern shore, with its cliffs overlooking the great gray expanses of water. Melodies seem to arise from meditative chords and sink back into them again, often with a soloist in the orchestra singing somewhere not quite in the foreground. This isn’t the music of a stormy sea, nor the sad music of the water where all things end, but a singing contemplation of life at the edge of our world’s most permanent feature. The Last of England is neither sad music nor happy music. It is…music that is.
Here is The Last of England by Nikolas Labrinakos.