RICHARD EMSLEY (b.1951): for piano 1, for piano 12, finnissys fifty, MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Tango - to celebrate Howard Skemptons fiftieth birthday, Sonata for (Toy) Piano, Tango - for Laurence Crane, HOWARD SKEMPTON (b.1947): Notti Stellate a Vagli, Starlight, after-image, Erienicon 4, Even Tenor, LAURENCE CRANE (b.1961): Chorale for Howard Skempton, Birthday Piece for Michael Finnissy.
Catalogue Number: 08N111
Reference: 613 1634-2
Description: Alongside the loose assemblage of British composers now in their 50s and 60s who make up the 'new complexity' school, runs a parallel stream of composition that employs the opposite means; spare, restrained, simple of texture, eschewing showy virtuosity altogether. All these composers are of this school, including Finnissy, who has a foot in both camps as performer, and sometimes as composer. Emsley's pieces are largely composed of a single line, mostly atonal and moving in unexpected intervals; rhythmically these meandering melodies are complex and unpredictable. Skempton's Feldmanesque Notti Stellate a Vagli is a delicate study in the decay of individual notes, and is thus rather different from the consonant simplicity with which he is most commonly associated, as heard in the four other little pieces here. Finnissy is represented by two pieces from his collection of Twenty-three Tangos; dedication pieces with a Satie-esque nonchalance and only the most oblique reference to tango rhythm, and the Sonata for Toy Piano, which consists of five minutes of Baroque ornamentation rendered surreal by the timbre of the instrument. Crane's pieces are in the restrained, consonant style of much of Skempton's output, perhaps even more extremely so; delicate chorales, like droplets of falling water. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano).