Andrew FORD (b.1957)
The Waltz Book (1998/2002) [59:16]
Ian Munro (piano)
rec. 7-8 February 2009, City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, NSW, DDD
TALL POPPIES TP209 [59:16]

Yvar Mikhashoff tells us that when he conceived the idea of the International Tango Collection he wrote to a number of composers and asked them to write a piece, of no more than 3 minutes duration, in any style, and call it a tango. Thus he received upwards of 50 pieces ranging from Michael Sahlís Exiles Cafe Tango, through Zoltan Jeneyís Philip Marlowe Tracks Down Yvar's Lost Tango to Richard Rodney Bennettís Tango after Syrinx. The range was phenomenal. Andrew Fordís The Waltz Book reminds me of Yvarís collection in that we have a collection of exquisitely turned miniatures which make a satisfying whole, with the difference that every piece here is by the same composer.

Liverpool-born Andrew Ford has lived in Australia since 1983, at which time he moved to Australia to join the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. He has an impressive catalogue to his name, in all genres, and is well known as a broadcaster Ė heís has presented The Music Show each Saturday morning on ABC Radio National since 1995, and he is the author of seven books on musical subjects. His language is easy to assimilate and he isnít afraid to pop a joke or two into his works, when the situation demands it.

The Waltz Book consist of 60 pieces each playing for approximately one minute which make up a very satisfying and entertaining piece. One is not conscious of there being so many separate works on offer for they follow one another with a logic and sure sense of progression. In the booklet, Ford gives a typically witty account of how the piece came to be what it is, and, like Yvarís Tango collection, the waltz is merely a concept on which to hang his musical flights of fancy. Thereís much melodic interest in these pieces but itís elusive and youíll have to listen for it for it is fleeting, but these pieces scream out for repeated hearings.

Together with the CD comes a DVD which includes an interview with Andrew Ford and PDF files of 10 Waltzes which are suitable to print out, and thus allow you to give a partial performance of the work. This is a very interesting jaunt down the Australian music road, and itís well worth the journey, for the host is so genial.

Bob Briggs

A very interesting jaunt.