Williamson, AndrŽ Tchaikowsky, Keeley

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COMPOSERS: André Tchaikowsky,Keeley,Williamson
LABELS: Merlin
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 1
PERFORMER: Colin Stone (piano)
Of the three composers represented on this enterprising release, the Polish-born André Tchaikowsky has the most clearly defined musical personality. The Eleven Inventions dating from the early Sixties are essentially musical portraits of Tchaikowsky’s closest colleagues (including such luminaries as Fou Ts’ong, Ilona Kabos and Tamás Vásáry), and in their widely varied use of texture, timbre and characterisation, make an immediate impact. It’s little wonder that after hearing a broadcast of these pieces the late John Ogdon arranged for them to be published, and one hopes that Colin Stone’s sympathetic performance will bring them to a wider audience. Robert Keeley’s Variations inhabit a similar quasi-atonal world, albeit modified by a direct mode of expression. Conceived very much on the broad scale of Brahms’s Handel Variations, with conscious references to past masters including Debussy, Bartók and Liszt, the sequence of contrasting musical events doesn’t necessarily gel into a convincing entity. But there’s no doubting Stone’s commitment to the music and his formidable technique. It’s a pity, though, that the Williamson Sonata proves to be a rather anaemic imitation of Stravinsky, and the recording sounds a little recessed in fuller passages. Erik Levi