Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra
for orchestra [3.3(III=ca).3(III=bcl).3(III=cbsn) - 220.127.116.11 - timp - perc(2) - harp - pno - strings]
The strings slowly try to emerge from the basses in the opening of Christopher Mayo's Therma. The brass helps to pull the music along, which becomes more rhythmic as it gains momentum. The low notes remain as the upper orchestra moves along towards the conclusion of this skilfully written work that provides so much from such little material.
— The Classical Reviewer (May 20, 2013)
There are plenty of imaginative sounds in The Panufnik Legacies, a CD from the LSO showcasing works by young composers...in Christopher Mayo's Therma, earthy rumblings erupt.
— Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review (October 2013)
Christopher Mayo created his piece (its title the original name for Thessaloniki) from an earlier chamber work, resulting in often ominous music that feels evocative of time and place.
— Rebecca Franks, BBC Music Magazine (May 2013)
Christopher Mayo took an earlier competition piece of some fourteen minutes and distilled it into this short four minute work. This evokes the visit to the competition in Thessaloniki in Greece with his memories of staying in “a thoroughly bizarre hotel ... a cross between The Shining and the hastily abandoned set of a 70s-era James Bond film”. It appears that Therma was the town’s original name which, having been built on a mosquito-infested swamp is the Greek work for malarial fever!
All the ten composers represented here deserve not only the highest praise but successful careers. The music was all uniformly excellent and I would be pleased indeed to hear longer works from each of them.
— Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International (July 10, 2013)
Therma is an orchestral re-imagining of an early unperformed work of mine, List 1; the since and again. List 1; the since and again was a fourteen-minute work for eleven solo strings written for a composition competition which took place in Rome and Thessaloniki in 2005. Compressing this much longer work into a 4-minute orchestral piece became a process of distillation. I removed all non-essential material until all that remained was a stark, skeletal outline which barely resembled the original work. But Therma is a re-imagining rather than an orchestration of my earlier work. It also incorporates my somewhat hazy memories of travelling to Rome and especially Thessaloniki where we stayed in a thoroughly bizarre hotel on a mountain overlooking the city. Giant chandeliers, a cocktail pianist in a bar with no patrons, and an empty swimming pool all contributed to it seeming like a cross between The Shining and the hastily abandoned set of 70s-era James Bond film. Therma (Θέρμα) was the original name of Thessaloniki when it was founded in 7th century BC . Built on a mosquito-infested swamp it was named for the Greek word for malarial fever.
January 7, 2011 - London Symphony Orchestra, François-Xavier Roth, conductor, LSO St Lukes, London, UK
2013, BBC Radio 3, CD Review