Tempo

Clare Lesser’s eloquent, rhythmically taut performances of Finnissy’s formative Song 1, Song 11, Song 15 and Song 16 (all written between 1966 and 1976, making this some of the earliest Finnissy on disc) highlights how nuanced melodic waywardness was part of the Finnissy creative armoury from the get-go. Song 11 defines its participants – a soprano and a clarinettist – through differentiation of material rather than a neatly dovetailed blend, as long lines persistently implode inside obsessively florid detail.

Coming from the North East of England myself, I know some of the original songs that feed into Beuk o’ Newcassel Sangs, and Finnissy’s supple clash of base diatonicism against microtonal encryption is powerful, weighty and unsettling.

—Philip Clark