(Westbrook Music WMLP 1)
Recorded: London 2-4 March1986.
Parade Of The Pierides; Terpsichore; Calliope; Polyhymnia; Euterpe; Thalia; Melpomene; Erato; Urania; Clio;
Peter Whyman (ss, as, cl); Brian Godding (g, g-synth);Mike Westbrook (p, tu); Kate Westbrook (voc, pic, ten-h).
ALTHOUGH GAINING RESONANCE FROM ITS dramatic context, a dance performance casting the nine muses, the pierides, as participants in a pier-show, the music on this album is vibrant and energetic enough to stand on its own - indeed it is arguable that, live, the stage show's multi-layered allusiveness can overwhelm the music.
All the trademarks of Westbrook music are here: the constant textural variety achieved through startling combinations of instruments, the abrupt emotional transitions - from grave earnestness to impishness, from melancholy to lyricism, tragedy to farce - the whole expressing serious themes with deceptive ease and lightness. A typical track, "Calliope", is at once a stirring tribute to the Greenham women: Kalliope/Small-limbed girl, gentle girl/Overcame the hounds of the camp/Who guard the weapons well... Hang on the barriers streamers and crepe"; an excellent piece of programme music evoking the epic muse; and a haunting song in its own right set against a synthesised backing of chilling grandeur.
There is a song about titillation and fetishism, even one listing a woman's cosmetics, sung with great brio in Kate Westbrook's familiar dramatic voice. There is a lyrical saxophone solo evoking young love and a wonderfully exuberant version of "Air Mail Special".
In short, this is another rich, challenging album from the Westbrooks, a dense, detailed canvas packed with all the colours one expects from their palette.