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Steve Law

Steve LAW (b. 1973)
Piano Music - Volume 1
Piano Sonata (2007) [37:40]
Prelude in F sharp (2009) [5:33]
Prelude in G minor (1991/2006) [4:12]
Prelude in A flat (2005) [3:53]
Prelude in B flat minor (2005) [6:30]
Waltz for Laura (2003) [3:22]
Prelude in B major (2009) [6:41]
Theme for an American Movie (2003) [8:43]
Steve Law (piano)
No recording details
STEVE LAW SL01 [77:21]
Experience Classicsonline

Steve Law stands in an illustrious tradition as composer and pianist. At first self-taught he later studied music at Bristol University. His Masters was founded on the jazz opera ‘Heaven on Earth’ which is reportedly ‘a significant contribution to the genre’. It would be good to hear it. He has given all-Gershwin recitals at St. Georges Bloomsbury and jazz standards evenings at the Harrow Heritage Centre and the Royal National Hotel London. His transcriptions and arrangements for Dudley Moore and Jack Gibbons have been performed in the UK and United States. He currently concentrates on song-writing and also teaches.

Mention of Jack Gibbons is particularly apposite. Listening to these kaleidoscopically varied works one might also cite Nikolai Kapustin, Will Todd and Lionel Sainsbury as cousins in music. The music is lively and dreamy in a grand manner rooted in the language of John Ireland (On a May Morning and Amberley Wild Brooks), William Baines (Thoughtdrift and Island of the Fey) and Billy Mayerl in his more dreamy-poetic moments.

In the extended and ambitious four-movement Piano Sonata the hallmarks are all present: engagement with melody, subtle shifting impressionistic atmosphere, a swaying bluesy slide and jazzy syncopation. The Largo rises to a dignified and beautiful grandeur which is sustained into the final Allegro Appassionato. There’s a great deal of satisfying music-making here. There are five preludes here. The F sharp one has that sea-weed tidal sway heard in the green depths of the Sonata. The G minor dates from 1991 but was revised in 2006 has a similar character but with less complexity and a more hypnotic effect - at least on the surface. The A flat has a more muscular jazzy undertow and the strength of loud bell-towers. The B flat minor is liquidly warm and dreamy. There is more foot-tapping drama and joyous urgency in the B major. It makes a great calling card for this composer; I really liked this piece and instantly played it again. Theme for an American Movie has a big sentimental impact mixed with that broad and jazzy confidence heard elsewhere on the disc. The Waltz for Laura is the short version of the one of two pieces he wrote in memory of Laura Sadler - an actress best known from the BBC hospital soap, Holby City - who died in 2003. Its strengths are in a slowly burning passion and the immediacy of bell-figuration that crisses and crosses these pieces.

Let’s hope for more from Steve Law. It would be good to hear him in a Piano Concerto and perhaps a sequence of Etudes-Tableaux. His music seems to promise good things.

Rob Barnett 



















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