Musical Opinion

This may, at first sight and hearing, be a specialist issue, of interest only to those interested in the latest music, but I urge those listeners with rather broader tastes to seek this album out and to listen to it without preconceptions, for I believe it can bring surprising rewards. The two largest works here are those by Michael Finnissy, his Eadweard Muybridge-Edvard Munch, after two artistically interpreted visual pioneers, and Morton Feldman’s Palais de Mari, named after an archaeological find of the 1930s in what is present-day Syria. These struck me as being the least interesting, despite their length of around 35 minutes each, for with the greatest respect, if we are to take the pianist’s own booklet notes on trust, they appear to have been written from a set of compositional principles which are inherently non-musical.

Paul Newland’s Butterfly Dreaming is a study mostly in slow motion, but the Xenakis piece, as so often with his work, left me cold. Max Wilson’s jazz-inspired, but not necessarily jazz-like Zeitlin is over almost as soon as it begins, but by far the most interesting work here is the shortest, De-Coding Skin by Paul Whitty, modern and challenging but genuinely musical in new and exciting ways.

Every piece is superbly played with total belief by this most gifted pianist and I trust this CD will get the attention it clearly merits.

—Robert Matthew-Walker