HOWARD SKEMPTON (b.1947): 24 Preludes and Fugues, 3 Nocturnes, 7 Reflections, 20 Images.
Catalogue Number: 03V061
Label: Orchid Classics
Reference: ORC 100116
Description: With his tonal vocabulary, simple textures, subtle, undemonstrative style and taste for miniature forms, Skempton seems ideally suited to the production of a set of preludes and fugues in the time-honored tradition. And so it proves; setting himself some 'rules' - each piece fits on one page; the preludes are canonic, with a thematically related, slower fugue; they follow a chromatic sequence of keys - he has written a series of charming little pieces of varying character with enough chromatic unpredictability to keep the listener guessing, often with a sort of neo-Baroque expressive voice. The Nocturnes are insouciant, with a kind of lazy, after-hours nonchalance, while the slow Reflections are Skempton’s Gymnopedies; static, graceful, gentle and enigmatic; the quicker ones, simple of texture but unpredictable of movement. The 1989 Images were written to accompany a television series about photography; its frequently impressionistic, modal pieces that often follow imitative forms developed more extensively in the 2019 Preludes and Fugues, were conceived as "music that both honored stillness and supplied a necessary sense of momentum." William Howard (piano).