Jane Antonia Cornish is an award-winning composer who grew up in England and lives in New York City. In addition to being the first female ever to win a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for music and her growing list of film credits, she has a fine catalog of exquisite and deeply affecting albums which gains a new addition with the recent release of Constellations. As with last year’s Into Silence (2017, Innova), Cornish once again presents us with an overarching narrative of transcendent beauty woven from the purest of sonorities by an impeccable ensemble, but the cosmic theme gives her quiet new pathways to explore in the dimensions of space, time, and light.
In particular, the deft use of electronics with exceptionally delicate filigree seems quite new and wraps the five movements that comprise the album in sheer folds of diaphanous fabric. The titular piece, split into two movements that bookend the record, features a patient recurring piano theme that calls the listener to peace and reflection while “Lux”, “Beyond the Sky”, and “Wave Cycles” are infused with immersive atmospherics and a soft, phosphorescent glow. From this lush sonic field of night, the strings will periodically emerge in swells of emotion that reach empyrean heights, especially in the final coda. Cornish and the supporting ensemble have created music that truly feels timeless and unbound, the kind that nourishes the soul and restores a sense of wonder, and that is no small thing in a world that drains so much from all of us every day. Take a little time, find a quiet space, close your eyes and listen and Constellations will reward you for it.
Constellations is released via Innova Recordings and is available on CD and digital. The featured artwork is by artists Howardena Pindell and guest musicians include Vicky Chow (piano), Anna Elashvili (violin), Margaret Dyer (viola), and Hamilton Berry (cello). The album is also available on popular streaming platforms such as iTunes and Spotify. You may also wish to read our duologue with Jane from last year in which she talks about being the first female composer to win a BAFTA for music in 2005 as well her other albums and projects.