The Chronicle

After all the loud music we’ve had on this week, this has been a real pleasure, aided and abetted by the fact that Audible’s talking book version of Dracula has also been playing. You can never have enough Gothic.

The contents of the CD can be guessed from the title. It features works by Ed Bennett, Benjamin Dwyer, David Fennessy, Frank Lyons, John McLachlan, Gráinne Mulvey and Jonathan Mangle, all young composers exploring the range of the piano.

Don’t get the idea this is wacky though; it’s melodic and thoughtful, and not the sound of someone trying to break new ground by being shocking (hitting the piano with hammers, that sort of thing). There’s often a thin line between pop/rock and classical, and some of this could come from a chill-out electric dance act, at least one erring towards the ambient.

Fennessy’s The First Thing, The Last Thing And Everything In Between has a similar brooding charm to Choir of Young Believers’ Hollow Talk , and would suit a Nordic noir crime series, with its repetition of piano chords —like most of the tracks, silence is as much a part of the music as the piano. Don’t believe the title of Nangle’s Grow Quiet Gradually : it starts quietly and stays quiet: it’s as if he’s making an attempt to fill the silence with as little as possible.

Lyons’s Tease does verge on the experimental, with some electronics and even more use of silence. Despite (or because of) the extensive use of quiet, it’s a dramatic and atmospheric album.

—Jeremy Condliffe