ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Spectrum
WORKS: 50 contemporary works for solo piano by Alberga, Bedford, Burrell, Finnissy, Fitkin, Harvey, Hoddinott, Montague, Sawer,
PERFORMER: Thalia Myers (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: D057
Thalia Myers had the inspired idea to commission a wide range of composers, mostly from Britain, to help redress the scarcity of short modern piano pieces that are ‘uncompromising in substance and style without making virtuoso demands on the player’. The result was not just one anthology but two, now recorded here. Both volumes are published by the Associated Board, thus making these fifty pieces internationally available to amateurs and young musicians.
The first Spectrum (1996) contains twenty works by composers as familiar as David Bedford and Jonathan Harvey (whose ff is brilliantly simple), as uncompromising as Brian Elias and Roger Redgate (whose trace makes surprisingly few concessions) and as skilful in devising immediately effective solutions as Michael Zev Gordon and Stephen Montague (whose Mira makes maximum impact with minimum means).
While several pieces in this album will still tax the average pianist, the 30 ‘shorter and easier’ ones of Spectrum 2 (1999) – adding ten new names, ranging from Richard Rodney Bennett and John Tavener to Laurence Crane and Dave Smith, but still only three women altogether – will make more playing friends more quickly. Here I especially enjoyed Michael Finnissy’s Tango and Colin Matthews’ Rosamund’s March. Myers herself makes a strong advocate for her excellent project. Keith Potter