Bridge, Ireland, Britten, L Berkeley, Stevenson & C Matthews

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bridge,Britten,Ireland,L Berkeley,Stevenson & C Matthews
LABELS: Diversions
ALBUM TITLE: Britten Resonances
WORKS: Various works
PERFORMER: Anthony Goldstone (piano)
My only reservation here concerns the title. There are historical connections with Britten in the pieces recorded here, but musical ones are harder to find – partly, perhaps, because his significance and influence as a composer for solo piano are minimal. Britten’s Five Waltzes (sic) are impressive for a pre-teen composer, but that’s about it. More interesting are the surprisingly Scriabinesque Little Idyll and the elusive Night Piece. But they pale beside the opulent grotesquerie of Bridge’s Gargoyle (written the year before Bridge first encountered Britten). Ireland’s robust and fantastical Ballade of London Nights may date from the time when Britten was his student, but that clearly didn’t affect Ireland when he picked up his pen. I would never have guessed that Ronald Stevenson’s Sonata Serenissima was a homage to Britten: it’s utterly individual, and captivating in a very different kind of way. Perhaps it was Death in Venice that gave the young Colin Matthews the idea of imitating Balinese Gamelan music in his Five Studies, but it clearly took him on a journey of his own. Better simply to be glad that the idea gave Anthony Goldstone a reason to explore so far off the beaten path, to find so many interesting things along the way, and to play them with such lucidity and sensitivity – good recordings too. Recommended to adventurous pianists and listeners. Stephen Johnson