It is easy to think of classical music as being something that exists only in the past and, if it gets thought of at all, modern classical music as the domain of experimentalists and progressives. But that, of course, is to fail to understand what classical music is. I argue that tracks such as Road to Calluna sit at the modern end of the classical road. Yes, you can label it with fancy current names, chillout, ambient, new-age or easy listening (why would anyone listen to music that was hard to get on with?), but for me, this is about as cutting-edge classical as it gets.
The sounds of the ebb and flow of strings, the delicate and spacious piano lines, the elegant sweeps, the dynamics pauses that allow atmosphere and anticipation to pool and percolate in the spaces between, the eloquent rise and fall of the music, it is all the stuff of the classical realm.
And, when I check out the biography of the man behind the music, Thomas Elliot Dolby (not that one, another one), I find that my reading of what his music is about isn’t too far from the mark as he cites the likes of Ravel, Debussy and Arvo Pärt as influences, thus proving my point.
But influences and academics aside, what he creates under the moniker of Taiga and the Tundra is nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful, and that is all you really need to know.