When Time Stops is choreographer Natalie Weir’s exploration of the final moments of a woman’s life. Iain Grandage revisits his score in this explosive recording from the Camerata of St John’s.
The composer tells us the piece is “not only about death. It is also intrinsically about life and the moments within it where one’s normal sense of the moment is stretched”. Immediately obvious is the strength of the music without visual support from the accompanying dance narrative. Rowing 1 begins with blood-curdling strings before Katherine Philp halts us with a cello melody. The second track, Street 1, is a violent commotion of textured strings. The relationship between tracks means the album should be approached in one sitting. Higher tones and heightened emotional intensity inform Rowing 2, and First Kiss brings a euphoric wave of strings. Also of note is Orb, with Chloe Ann Williamson’s double bass pulsing under impassioned and fiery melodies from violist Elizabeth Lawrence. The resolution leaves us hanging on for more.
Violinist Brendan Joyce stands out in the grating and trance-like repetition of Scan, while Into the Wall is thick and rhythmic. Impeccable intonation is heard in all movements, though particularly noticeable in Rowing 3, which offers an eerie feeling of calm before the storm. Regardless of whether you saw When Time Stops on stage at QPAC, you’ll find this recording simultaneously edgy and beautiful.