ANTHONY BURGESS (1917-1993): 6 Preludes, 6 Short Pieces, A Scottish Rhapsody for Andrew, Ye Banks and Braes, Master Coales’ Pieces, Sonatina for Anne Field, {untitled], Berceuse Pour Un Nouveau Né, Wiegenlied, Brief Suite in A, 9 Miniatures, Fuga a Voci, Friends, Tango.

Catalogue Number: 08S044

Label: Prima Facie

Reference: PFCD043

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Burgess' father played the piano as a music-hall and cinema accompanist, and among the composer-novelist's many musical references, structures and allusions in his literary output, his semi-autobiographical novel “The Pianoplayers” pays tribute to this important early influence. Burgess was a competent pianist himself, so it is not surprising that there is a good deal of piano music in his output, of which this is a representative sample. There are apparently early sonatas, but the bulk of his output for the instrument seems to consist of miniatures, which find the composer working in a largely conservative idiom, in a widely eclectic range of styles. Counterpoint was important to him; he stated that at least at one point he tried to write at least a fugal exposition every day for practice. There are little fugues here, some very much in the style of Bach, others wittily based on themes such as Ye Banks and Braes. British folk music pops up, as in the Rhapsody for his son who was intrigued by the possibility of Scottish ancestry. The earliest pieces - Sonatina (all of 3 minutes) and Wiegenlied - find him trying out some mildly modernist tendencies, but otherwise everything is frankly tonal plus or minus varying degrees of chromaticism. There are occasional pieces for specific recipients, and what sound like exercises or sketches for larger works (like the Preludes, which are themes for the ambitious Piano Concerto). None of these pieces aspire to greatness, but like little marginal notes to the major works of his parallel careers they illustrate Burgess' humor, craftsmanship and versatility. Richard Casey (piano).


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