HOWARD SKEMPTON (b.1947): Solo Piano: Bolt from the Blue, Decision Time, The Durham Strike, Guitar Caprice, Horham, Leamington Spa, Liebeslied, Lyric Study, Memorial Prelude, The Mold Riots, Monogram, Nocturnes, Resister, Starlight, Sweet Chariot, Well, well, Cornelius, Voices: Emerson Songs, 5 Poems of Mary Webb, Four by the Clock, Music, Music, when soft voices die, Rose-berries, Snape Interval, The Snare, 2 Poems of Edward Thomas, He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.
Catalogue Number: 12M076
Description: Skempton's æsthetic epitomises the 'new simplicity', with straightforward, open textures in a clear, tonal vocabulary. This works to great advantage in the pure, crystalline vocal settings of Mary Webb, and Edward Thomas, which have a gentle purity to match the descriptive evocations of the poems. The James Stephens poem and Judith Cramond's Snape Interval evoke a darker, more chromatic idiom, while the Emerson settings are melody only, three monodic (in one case passed back and forth between two voices), the last in two parts. The piano pieces - all subtle miniatures of a few minutes or less - mainly explore harmonic progressions of deceptive and beguiling simplicity, though a couple of pieces with a political protest subtext bring a measure of activity and drama to the otherwise mainly gentle and meditative program. Daniel Becker (piano), Exaudi; James Weeks.