REVIEWS



"...the general impression was of a torrential tour de force - a breathtaking flood of corruscating invention."


"The sheer exuberence of this music...is the enviable energy of youth."


"...this is music - to my ears - very much in the mould of Elliott Carter, where notes proliferate naturally in relation to the intervallic profile pursued."


"...Painter's compositional armoury is so formidable that his future is bound to be fascinating."


 Geraint Lewis, Welsh Music (review of Tapestries)




"...the orchestra rousingly realised the composer's significant sound picture."

Alun WG Davies, Western Mail (review of Gwyl Caerdydd)





"Mr. Painter has, to my mind, a strong similarity with Mozart - they both write too many notes!!!"


Liverpool Daily Post (review of Tapestries)



"There is to begin with in Christopher Painter's Toward the Light, a tremendous thrilling evocation of the sea in its many unpredictable moods.

Reminiscent of Benjamin Britten in places, the Grimes sea interludes specifically, here also was a singularly demanding and affecting musical voice which infallibly reached us emotionally and intellectually in this particular fine premiere performance of a Welsh College commission.

Aptly titled, this was an exciting neo-symphonic journey by Painter which clearly depicted the inspirational natural forces on which he drew. It is hoped that this striking piece will have a long and professional life."


Dewi Savage, Western Mail




Christopher Painter's music is new to me and his finely wrought Clarinet Sonata of 1999 is a nice novelty. It is laid-out in three concise movements never outstaying their welcome. The central Lento cantabile, yet another song without words, is particularly fine. 

Hubert Culot, Classical Music on the Web



It (the Clarinet Sonata) is a three-movement work full of birdsong and seasonal variation, giving it an outdoor mood in which the listener may note an influence of Tippett. Moderato con anima is lively with clear trilling birdsong. Lento cantabile is depictive of the town submerged by Lake Vyrnwy. Allegro Giocoso is brilliant with complex rhythmic structure. The sonata provides the performers with the great scope for variety of tone and expression, coupled with a display of virtuosity by both musicians and the birdsong episodes are dazzling. I will be delighted to hear future output from this gifted composer.


Neil Cadogan, Welsh Music (review of Sonata for Clarinet)




A colourfully orchestrated and eloquent piece, influenced by such diverse sources as Italo Calvino, Marco Polo and Canaletto, this is dedicated to his former mentor Alun Hoddinott for his seventieth birthday. It shows moreover this composer's growing confidence and experience in handling large-scale ideas on a wide canvas of sound.

A.J. Heward Rees, Welsh Music (review of Invisible Cities)



Christopher Painter is a well-known figure on the Welsh music scene but, of late, his music has undergone a new and impressive transformation. In June his substantial Third Symphony marked him out as one of the real heavyweights on the Welsh music scene, endorsed by the award of the Tlws y Cerddor medal at this year’s Eisteddfod. Spring of Vision was a substantial nineteen-minute piece for clarinet, violin and cello cast in a continuous four-movement form, linked by cadenzas for the three instruments. The music had inevitability, an absolutely natural sense of form and movement, and demonstrates that Painter is at the top of his game at the present time.

Peter Reynolds (review of Spring of Vision at the Machynlleth Festival)



The actual première featured in the concert was Furnace of Colours by the Welsh composer Christopher Painter (b.1962). Painter studied at what was then University College, Cardiff under Alun Hoddinott. He was long associated with Hoddinott in many capacities. When the Hoddinott Hall was opened in Cardiff's Millennium Centre in 2009 Painter edited a volume of essays and reminiscences of Hoddinott, also entitled The Furnace of Colours: Remembering Alun Hoddinott. In it Painter wrote of how he had had "the great privilege and pleasure of knowing Alun for over 27 years as his pupil, copyist, publisher, and most importantly, friend". 

In a brief onstage interview (with harpist Catrin Finch) before this première, Painter spoke of the work as being the last of four dedicated to his memories of Hoddinott. As such it follows on from his third symphony, premièred in 2010, which was also grounded in a poem by Watkins (Fire in the Snow). As Painter acknowledged, Furnace of Colours contains some echoes of Hoddinott, and is musically in direct line of descent from him, without being merely derivative.

It takes the form of a setting, for soprano and orchestra, of a sequence of three poems by Vernon Watkins, first collected in Watkins's Affinities of 1962, under the full title of Music of colours: Dragonfoil and the Furnace of Colours. Painter's setting is full of colourful orchestral writing, in range and texture alike. The music responds well to Watkins's sequence, its evocation of the heat-haze of a long summer's afternoon/evening, when "all is entranced [. . .] mazed amid the wheatfield". 

Claire Booth's delivery of the vocal lines was impressive in its range from the declamatory to the intimate, and Jac van Steen's conducting complemented her well in a work lasting more than thirty minutes. 

......Painter's song-cycle had some ravishing moments and packed a fair emotional punch. I suspect that Hoddinott would have been pleased by it, and would have appreciated this committed performance, which lost nothing by being performed in the hall named for Hoddinott and opened soon after his death.

Glyn Pursglove, MusicWeb International (review of Furnace of Colours)