JOHN MCLEOD (b.1934): Haflidi's Pictures, PHILIP MARTIN (b.1947): Prism, Dunes: Hills of Wind-Blown Sand, GRAHAM FITKIN (b.1963): Furniture, COLIN DECIO (b.1959): The Musical Box Suite, FREDERICK STOCKEN (b.1967): Bagatelle, MERVYN BURTCH (b.1929): 5 Aphorisms.
Catalogue Number: 09L093
Reference: PRCD 1018
Description: An appealing recital of tonally-based contemporary British works all receiving their world premiere recordings. Most are brief, or in short movements; for example Burtch's Aphorisms, little character pieces with something of Prokofiev about them. The Decio suite occupies a world of wistful melancholy, tinged with Russian-style sentiment, perhaps derived from the composer's awareness of his Ukrainian ancestry. The Fitkin, by contrast, is a brash, extrovert mechanistically driven rollickingly rhythmic work with jazzy and minimalistic tendencies. Martin's Prism consists of seven clearly etched character pieces employing elements of modal harmony and bitonality as a framework for the composer's striking melodic gift, alongside an unerring sense of virtuosic piano expression. The outer movements of Dunes are meditative, in rich, Messiaenic harmonic colors; the central 'Wilds', a sandstorm-toccata. Stocken's Bagatelle plays with major-minor expectations in a Busonian way, in a work of neoclassical economy. McLeod's 12 movements after drawings by composer Halflidi Hallgrimsson share with the pictures (reproduced in the booklet) a sense of surreal ambiguity and a hard-edged delineation of texture and amount to a substantial half-hour work of considerable variety and emotional depth. Mark Tanner (piano).