Finnissy, Longton, Curran, Smith & Parkinson

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Curran,Finnissy,Longton,Smith & Parkinson
LABELS: Artifact Music
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: New Music for Piano
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Eve Egoyan (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ART 019
Just what youthful music by the British Michael Finnissy is doing among Eve Egoyan’s expertly played survey of piano works by her Canadian compatriots I don’t know, but his three sensuously kaleidoscopic versions of waltzes by Johann Strauss (‘Where the lemon trees bloom’, ‘O, beautiful May’ and ‘Tales from the Vienna Woods’) make a frothy start to this otherwise rather unprepossessing collection. The best of the rest is Alvin Curran’s homage to Cornelius Cardew, by turns aching with simple nostalgia and raging furiously at the loss of a great talent at such a young age; none of the other three pieces, though, all dedicated to Egoyan, has very much to commend it.

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Piano Diary by Michael Longton is certainly pianistic enough, but its alternations of minimalist murmurings with Lisztian flourishes hardly makes for a coherent structure, despite the cyclic process imposed upon it, while Linda C Smith’s A Nocturne is content to ruminate quietly and inconsequentially on a few becalmed chords. Finally Stephen Parkinson’s Rainbow Valley ventures into the guts of the piano itself to create a sound-world of thrummed and bowed sounds that nowadays seems irretrievably passé, though it does present Egoyan with very different technical challenges from the more or less conventional keyboard writing in the rest of her programme. Andrew Clements