The Xyelich Witch Manual (composed October 2013) is an impressive orchestral showpiece. Expertly made and incredibly detailed, it is writhes with dissonant agitation and a plethora of special effects. Similarly, scenes of unschematic expressionism and lyricism use fragmented, disjointed melodic strains in to weave a tightly-woven and engrossing grotesque work that is seductive in its urgent tone and opulent in its vivid orchestration. The music is brilliant infused with textures and contrasts that highlight a cinematic flow, through bitingly-dissonant in its comfortable instrumental writing. Sweeps of great scale and grandeur evocate rich gravity and pomposity, attractive and picturesque, reflective and introspective – yet potent in its diverse sumptuous harmonic palette. Glittering flourishes and richly contemporary music combines a compelling mix of raw, unflinching power with suggestive overtones of the occult, sorcery and magic.
Moments of great stagecraft illuminate, with bewitching cunning, dalliances of long-limbed melodic line over a topography of starkly wrenching lavish, dark broodings in this ambitious work of considerable merit. It is operatic in essence – dramatically effective and thoroughly professional rendered. Relentless in its forward motion through vast stretches of primal, distorted sounds confront the lister with moments of frightening tension and gripping climaxes. It achieves both transparency and power, churching rhythms and fine inner workings within an obsessively tight array of notes. The score is a full swath of careful touches: foreboding, serious, effective, substantial and theatrically well-paced, well-constructed. It is emotionally searing orchestrating full of psychologically penetrating effects.