> Spectrum3 - contemporary piano [CT] : Classical Reviews- Nov 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

Spectrum 3
25 Contemporary works for piano from around the globe
Pēteris PLAKIDIS (Latvia b.1947) Distant Song Param VIR (India b.1952) White Light Chorale Karen TANAKA (Japan b.1961) Lavender Field Javier ALVAREZ (Mexico b.1956) n mambo Detlev GLANERT (Germany b.1960) Lied im Berg Sohrab UDUMAN (Sri Lanka b.1962) Still, Suspended Victoria BORISOVA-OLLAS (Russia b.1969) Silent Island Aulis SALLINEN (Finland b.1935) King Learís Distant War Joyce BEE TUAN KOH (Singapore b.1968) la Pierre magenta Gerald BARRY (Eire b.1952) Root Position Lyell CRESSWELL (New Zealand b.1944) Apteryx Toek NUMAN (Netherlands b.1971) Bergen Julia WOLFE (USA b.1958) Earring Alexandre LUNSQUI (Brazil b.1969) tempo absurdo Peter SCULTHORPE (Australia b.1929) Song for a Penny Poul RUDERS (Denmark b.1949) Shooting Stars Faidros KAVALLARIS (Cyprus b.1950) Yassemí Naji HAKIM (Lebanon b.1955) Dumia Jean-Marc SINGIER (France b.1954) Fragments distincts, fouillis díinstants Sylvie BODOROVÁ (Czech Republic b.1954) Carousel Julian YU (China b.1957) Yellow Beanleaves Rodney SHARMAN (Canada b.1958) The Anglo Tango Ramon LAZKANO (Spain b.1968) Zortziko Haflidi HALLGRIMSSON (Iceland b.1941) Drymla Kevin VOLANS (South Africa b.1949) Wrist Rock
Thalia Myers - Piano
Recorded at Challow Park, Berkshire on 18 and 19 February 2001 DDD
METRONOME MET CD 1053 [40:15]
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

NOTE • Click on the button and you can buy the disc or read the booklet details • You can also access each track which you may then sample or down load. • Further Information.


 

The Spectrum project began in 1995 when, disillusioned by the lack of quality contemporary piano music available for students and amateurs to play, Thalia Myers commissioned twenty British composers, each to write a short work suitable for non-professional performers whilst retaining the essential characteristics of their own compositional style. The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music subsequently published the works and the success of the project was such that it was repeated in Spectrum 2.

It was perhaps only a matter of time therefore until the project went international although this necessitated a change of label from NMC to Metronome, the former obligated by its charitable status to British composers only.

The result was the further commissioning of twenty-five composers from countries as diverse as Lebanon to Latvia and encompassing names that include the unfamiliar as well as those with an existing international reputation, amongst them Aulis Sallinen, Peter Sculthorpe and Poul Ruders.

Not surprisingly, and entirely appropriately in todayís eclectic musical climate, the pieces demonstrate a wide range of compositional styles taking in minimalism, post-modernism and those with a more "maverick" approach along the way, although there is possibly a tendency to avoid the densest atonality. In this respect Ramon Lazkanoís Zortziko is possibly one of the toughest nuts, a transformation of a Basque greeting dance that eventually resonates away to silence, whilst Joyce Bee Tuan Kohís la pierre magenta and Sohrab Udumanís Still, Suspended are more freely dissonant than many of their bedfellows, the former an uncompromising study expressing in music the calligraphic characteristics of the letters P and M.

Of the minimalist inspired contributions I found Julia Wolfeís Earring, pitting a simple left hand melody against persistent repeated notes in the high register of the instrument rather empty with Kevin Volanís Wrist Rock offering much more interest in its cleverly shifting rhythmic interplay. Poul Ruderís also provides a fleeting yet entertaining study with his portrait of Shooting Stars in which showers of notes are subjected to rhythmic displacement whilst Gerald Barryís Root Position (more maverick than minimalist perhaps) is guaranteed to raise a smile. Another of the more amusing contributions is Lyell Cresswellís Apteryx, Cresswell long having been resident in Scotland but returning to his native New Zealand for this stumbling, clumsy portrait of the flightless Kiwi.

Of the names that are best known internationally Peter Sculthorpe gives us a recollection of the popular 30ís music often played on machines at fairgrounds visited during his youth, with Aulis Sallinenís King Learís Distant War more overtly serious but particularly effective in its writing. Like the Sculthorpe, Sylvie Bodorová explores a fairground theme in her Carousel with an Arabic doll providing the inspiration for Naji Hakimís Dumia, an attractive study in eastern scalic passages, a kind of Golliwogís Cakewalk for the twenty-first century. Haflidi Hallgrimssonís Drymla, (another composer now resident in Scotland) is particularly effective in its pictures of transfigured, mist shrouded Icelandic landscapes, Karen Tanakaís delicately scented Lavender Field being memorable for very different reasons.

There are, it must be said, those contributions that are not so successful and Alexandre Lunsquiís tempo absurdo, Rodney Sharmanís The Anglo Tango and Param Virís White Light Chorale are amongst those that I will not rush to hear again. Overall however, the impression is of a diverse collection of interesting pieces, some of the most ear-catching coming from the less well known, younger generation of composers.

I found it a shame that the piano was recorded too closely resulting in a disconcertingly "in your face" sound and at forty minutes the disc is also not the best when it comes to value for money. Without a doubt however the most important factor is that the music is likely to bring a greater number of young pianists and amateur players into contact with the contemporary repertoire and that in itself makes the project hugely worthwhile.

Christopher Thomas


CD Price: £ 13.50 - post free world wide Download Price:
£ 5.20
Buy CD:
Download all tracks:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FREE SOUND SAMPLES
(minimum 30 secs)

1 - P. PLAKIDIS
Distant Song
2 - P. VIR
White Light Chorale
3 - K. TANAKA
Lavender Field
4 - J. ALVAREZ
n mambo
5 - D. GLANERT
Lied im Berg
6 - S. UDUMAN
Still, Suspended
7 - V. BORISOVA-OLLAS
Silent Island
8 - A. SALLINEN
King Lear's Distant War
9 - J. BEE TUAN KOH
la pierre magenta
10 - G. BARRY
Root Position
11 - L. CRESSWELL
Apteryx
12 - T. NUMAN
Bergen
13 - J. WOLFE
Earring
14 - A. LUNSQUI
tempo absurdo
15 - P. SCULTHORPE
Song for a Penny
16 - P. RUDERS
Shooting Stars
17 - F. KAVALLARIS
Yassemi
18 - N. HAKIM
Dumia
19 - J-M. SINGIER
Fragments distincts, foullis d'instants
20 - S. BODOROVA
Carousel
21 - J. YU
Yellow Beanleaves
22 - R. SHARMAN
The Anglo Tango
23 - R. LAZKANO
Zortzico
24 - H. HALLGRIMSSON
Drymla
25 - K. VOLANS
Wrist Rock



You require QuickTime to listed to samples.

Get a free QuickTime download here



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • You can sample only 30 seconds (or 15% if that is longer) of a given track. Select from the View tracks list. Each sample will normally start from the beginning but you can drag the slider to any position before pressing play. • PLEASE NOTE: If you are behind a firewall and the sound is prematurely terminated you may need to register Ludwig as a trusted source with your firewall software. •You will need Quicktime to hear sound samples. Get a free Quicktime download here • If you cannot see the "Sample All Tracks" button you need to download Flash from here.

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.