WORKS: Circuit; T1; Relent; Carnal; T2; From Yellow to Yellow; White; Furniture
PERFORMER: Noriko Ogawa, Kathryn Stott (piano); Tokyo SO/Naoto Otomo
CATALOGUE NO: BIS SACD-1517 (hybrid CD/SACD)
Devotees of Fitkin’s quasi-tonal, often minimalistic music may well enjoy this disc. Much of his output is characterised by visceral, driving rhythms, setting up grooves that are constantly evolving. Circuit for two pianos and orchestra is perhaps the most effective example; Noriko Ogawa and Kathryn Stott ride every unexpected twist and turn with panache.
The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra is also impressive: it’s no small feat for such a large band to groove as they do here. The acoustic is dry, giving great clarity, yet this rather tempers the orchestral sound – a cause not aided by orchestration that is often little more than workman-like.
The remainder of the disc features solo piano works and duos that exhibit much of the rhythmic language present in Circuit, though they are not without moments of nostalgic reflection: a contrast that is right at the core of Fitkin’s music. Neil Smith