American Record Guide

With a clang, a wide tremolo, and a low bang, Ed Bennett’s “Gothic” begins. The piano’s opening salvo is given ample time to decay and leaves the listener wondering what completely different material will follow. The answer is another volley of piano in the form of a motive broken apart from itself and spread across the keyboard. Dynamically, harmonically, rhythmically, the piece is gripping. After such an audacious start Irish pianist Mary Dullea’s program moves to the stark and somber “ First Thing, The Last Thing and Everything in Between” by David Fennessy. It shares a crisp, ringing pedal with “Gothic” but grows into a heavy cloud of plod­ding emotion. John McLachlan’s Nine is a col­ lection of moody miniatures imitating stairs, waves, clouds, and interpreting illusions and hurrying. It is highly chromatic and eccentric, and there is little if any repetition.

—Kraig Lamper