My first encounter with the music of Martijn Padding was his And trees would sing… for tenor and trombone quartet from 2005, on Etcetera KTC 1353, part of 3-CD collection of works performed by the Dutch New Trombone Collective, Etcetera KTC 1355 (2007). The collection doesn’t offer any great revelation – except for Padding’s piece. If I may quote myself, “it is highly original in its choice of text – the description by a friend of Dylan Thomas of what would have been the opera that had been discussed one afternoon in 1953 with Stravinsky, that never went beyond that discussion – and a fine and haunting piece, with a very inventive vocal line and trombone score, sounding a bit like a modernized Oberon aria from Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the stuff of nightmares rather than the stuff of dreams”.
One thing leading to another and compiling discographies of Dutch labels logically leading sometimes to the same composers, I immediately after listened to the CD “Working on Time” by the Maarten Altena Ensemble on NM Classics. It includes another piece of Padding, a tribute to Mahler (as the disc’s punning title indicates, all the pieces featured there are, in a manner or another, elaborations on works from the past), Nicht Eilen, Nicht Shleppen. Maybe not as haunting as And trees would sing, but again a very original take on the composer, with again a very unexpected and daring choice of text – a compilation of some of the tempo and character indications contained in Mahler’s scores… The CD as a whole is great.
I’ll be on the lookout for more music of Padding.