WORKS: Septembral; String Quartet No. 3; The Impersonal Touch; Firefinch
PERFORMER: Jinny Shaw (oboe), Anne-Marie Hastings, Joanna Porter, Geoffrey Poole (piano); The Lindsays, Gemini
CATALOGUE NO: MSV CD 92061
Anyone concerned with the integration of non-European and western music should tune in to the music of Geoffrey Poole, whose concerto for Ghanaian drummer, Two Way Talking, made a lasting impression at the 1993/4 MusICA season. Another work, Septembral, was heard in the same concert and, though overshadowed at the time by its brighter companion, features on this Metier release as a strongly centred creation in its own right, concerned with moments of turning, ‘where a thing becomes its antithesis’.
Tough and edgy, the music urges itself forward, precipitous with further utterance that might be part of the title’s implication, yet which proves equally characteristic of The Impersonal Touch. Here, true to the composer’s approach to keyboard composition minus the ghosts of Beethoven, Chopin et al, he likens the two pianos to a set of drums, with intriguing results. String Quartet No. 3, played magnificently by the Lindsays, evokes time-zones of Saxon England in an imagined ‘Old English’ sound-world as far removed from the classical idiom as the ‘Gambian’ music of Poole’s Second Quartet. Firefinch reconciles the spiky duo of oboe and piano by reference to the call of the African Firefinch, heard in the composer’s garden at Kenyatta University. Nicholas Williams