Plakidis, Tanaka, Barry, Volans, Sculthorpe, Hakim, etc
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Spectrum 3
PERFORMER: Thalia Myers (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MET CD 1053
Thalia Myers’s efforts to increase the range of contemporary piano music accessible to amateur and student performers have now resulted in three Spectrum collections, and the latest of them spreads its net wider than ever. The 25 composers brought together here, all of whom responded to Myers’s invitation to compose short pieces are natives of 25 different countries, from Iceland to New Zealand, Mexico to Singapore.
The range of styles is predictably wide. There’s Janácek-like melody from the Latvian Peteris Plakidis, Debussian impressionism from the Japanese Karen Tanaka, a brooding chorale derived from his opera King Lear by the Finn Aulis Sallinen. Gerald Barry (Ireland) offers a study in single notes skipping around the keyboard which is more difficult to get exactly right than it sounds and Julia Wolfe (USA) gently unfurls a wistful melody under incessantly repeated notes in the highest treble. Some pieces are undoubtedly more difficult than others: the quasi-minimalism of Poul Ruders (Denmark) demands one kind of discipline, the seductive nostalgia of Peter Sculthorpe (Australia) another; the threes against fives of Jean-Marc Singier (France) will need working at, and lean, joyous study in repetition by Kevin Volans (South Africa) needs a really deft touch. Andrew Clements