COMPOSERS: Nancarrow
ALBUM TITLE: Nancarrow
WORKS: String quartets Nos 1&3; Study for Player Piano No.15 (arr. Mikhashoff); Studies for Player Piano Nos 31 & 33 (arr.Usher); Study for Player Piano no. 34 (arr. Nancarrow); Toccata; Trilogy
PERFORMER: Arditti Quartet
Many composers welcomed the player-piano because it enabled them to make rolls setting down a piece exactly as they wished it to be played. for Conlon Nancarrow, leaving aside performers’ interpretational quirks, it was clear few could succesfully realise the complexity of his scores, so he created exclusively for player-piano from 1951-83. Then Nancarrow was rediscovered by new generations of musicians who, thanks to improved techniques, could successfully tackle music previously considered unplayable by flesh-and-blood performers. In his last years produced several new pieces for live performers, including the Third Quartet. Though written for the Arditti in 1987, some its material seems to have been drawn from unpublished piano-rolls, which appear here as Trilogy. The First Quartet was written sometime between 1942-45 (A Second from that period was left unfinished) and already diplays dauntingly complex canonic writing and rhythmic sophistication, characteristics picked up and developed in the Third Quartet. The Programme is completed with the Toccata for violin and player-piano and impressive quartet and Trio transcriptions of four player-piano studies. For all their density, velocity and spiky intensity, Nancarrow’s scores cannot conceal his fundamental musicality, inventiveness and lyricism, nor a deep-seated classicism. The Arditti Quartet negotiate all these elements with aplomb.