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One Minute Wonders
Paul Archbold

Coronae [1:30] **

Gaslight Square I [1:23] **

Flowers Fall [1:04] **
Katharine NORMAN

Thumbs Up [1:24] **
Stephen GOSS

invisible starfall after Morton Feldman [0:45] *
Colin Matthews

60 Second Waltz [1:18] **

Chip Revisited [1:32] **

Korean Waltz [1:02] **

Flip [1:37] **

Old Bells [1:25] **

One Minute Wonder [1:12] ***
Jonathan Owen Clark

on nicola’s bell it says 6:six [1:24] **

Epigram [1:28] **

A Little Moment [1:26] **
Camden Reeves

Præludium from Notturno Dalle Flamme Del’Inferno [1:15] **

Morag [1:32] **
Tom Armstrong

Melody [0:44] *
Morgan Hayes

Strides (1) [1:24] **

Attraction / Repulsion [0:59]
Arlene Sierra

Titmouse [1:14] **
John Woolrich

One Moment More [1:03] ***
Gordon McPherson

Se voce puder dizer algo em um minuto e ele worth dizer [0:54] **

Stroking the Keys [1:06] **
Sebastian Forbes

Toccata [1:06] *
Matthew Sansom

On Remembrance [1:10] **
Allan F. Moore

Gudrun’s Waltz [0:53] *
Mark Sambell

crossing the M4 (as a spider) [1:03] ***
Ben Donnelly

Boss [1:08] *
Sadie Harrison

Sleeping with the Fishes [1:29] **
Tansy Davies

Last Minute [1:02] ***
Benjamin Hooper

University Challenge [0:45] *
Philip Cashian

Journey after Rain [1:20] ***
Anthony John

Disillusioned [0:59] *
Phillip Neil Martin

Chime [1:11] ***
Philip Grange

Prelude: In Memoriam Karlin Field [1:25] **
Matthew King

Sonatas [1:16] **
Clive Williamson (piano)
rec. * 7 April 2004; ** 10 July 2005; *** 13 November 2006; all in Studio 1, Performing Arts Technology Studies, University of Surrey

One Minute Wonders began as a project at the University of Surrey, where pianist Clive Williamson teaches. His composition students were challenged to write pieces for solo piano, lasting only a minute but displaying some complexity of thought or structure and some individuality of personal style. The only other stipulation was that no Cage-like preparation of the piano was allowed. An initial concert of the resulting pieces was given in January 2004. Later, a number of professional composers were asked to offer pieces produced on the same terms. A second recital of ‘one minute wonders’ was given at the Guildford International Music Festival in 2005. The project continues, involving other established composers and composition students at other universities.

The music on this entertaining CD mixes work by household names (at any rate names well known in households with an interest in contemporary British music) with work by some less familiar names.

The approaches adopted are intriguingly various. Michael Finnissy’s ‘One Minute Wonder’ plays amusing – if slightly disconcerting – games with an obvious original in Chopin – an original not entirely irrelevant to Colin Matthews’s ‘60 Second Waltz’; musical intertextuality of an even more dazzling order defines Mathew King’s ‘Sonatas’ which (in seventy six seconds!) quotes from every Beethoven sonata (in chronological order!). Julian Anderson’s ‘Old Bells’ is a simple, but radiant piece, adjectives one might also apply to ‘Chime’ by Philip Neil Martin; Sadie Harrison’s ‘Sleeping with the Fishes’ is a charming and evocative miniature, a distant relation of such ‘underwater’ music as Debussy’s ‘La cathédrale engloutie’, while Philip Grange’s ‘Prelude: In Memoriam Karlin Field’ packs a lot of controlled emotion into its 85 seconds. Other pleasures include Kenneth Hesketh’s robust yet pointed ‘Epigram’ and Rhian Samuel’s alert and suggestive ‘Gaslight Square I’.

In truth there aren’t many duds here – and if there is something to which the individual takes an instant dislike – well, at least it doesn’t go on for very long!

Perhaps ‘wonders’ is putting it a bit strong, but more than a few of these pieces do satisfy and tantalise in almost equal proportions – and you can’t expect much more than that from such ‘miniatures’. The one minute challenge, I’m sure, is one that more composers will want to take up. A booklet note by Stephen Goss explains that "future plans include projects that involve other solo instruments". I look forward to hearing the results.

Glyn Pursglove


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