White: Piano Sonatas

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: White
LABELS: NMC
WORKS: Piano Sonatas
PERFORMER: Roger Smalley (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: NMCD 038
The revelation of this disc is John White’s consistency over more than forty years. At sixty, he’s a square peg whose corners remain as sharp as ever. White is a clever musician and a fine pianist, but he is never clever-clever, nor merely eclectic, because he has a natural point of view which is entirely his own. Sonata 109, written in the Eighties, still recalls the work that galvanised his urge to compose when he heard it more than thirty years earlier – Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony. This sonata probably stretches Smalley the most. His playing has gained greatly in colour and sensitivity over the years, while he’s kept his old precision, which makes his account of the ‘Tango’ Sonata, No. 108, particularly compelling. The recording has considerable depth, but every shade of expression remains clear. Dave Smith’s authoritative booklet notes are excellent. An important and long overdue release. Adrian Jack

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