The evolution of post-war music, we are persistently told, has been etched around ideological clashes between tonality and atonality, but this disc [and others in a joint review] prove that assumption to be a lame simplification – the rearguard action of composers foraging around in the harmonic fault lines has been important too.
Tides washing faraway tonal debris ashore. The surface lushness of Eric Craven’s harmonic language is offset by the discreet volatility of his structures, Composer and pianist are photographed bent down on the floor surrounded by the loose-leaf pages of Craven’s score. The challenge: to divine an overarching structural logic from out of those free-floating modules. Rhythm and pitch are given. And the rest is up, not so much for grabs, but for allowing ears scope to zone inside the evolving tonal tapestry, fingers intuiting where best to lay the next panel.