plays new piano works,
investigated by KEITH BRAMICH
CRI CD 877
American pianist Marilyn Nonken plays four works written for her at the
end of the twentieth century. They share the rhythmic complexity and abstract
late 20th century language which will be familiar if you know the music
of Michael Finnissy (born 1947), whose English Country Tunes, reviewed
by Wilfrid Mellers in M&V, made a big impression on the pianist.
Chelsea Square (1999) by Jeff Nichols (born 1957) takes its name from a poem
by Douglas Crase which conjures up an image of millennial Manhattan. The
music is rather lyrical, and has a certain stillness [listen
-- track 1, 12:13-13:08]. Nonken, writing her own CD notes, describes
it as having a 'quirky, riddle-like structure' and says that it rewards
Jason Eckardt's Echoes' White Veil (1996) sounds chaotic, jazzy
and fragmented. It was apparently written without barlines, and, inspired
by Echoes, a prose poem by W S Merwin, beginning 'Everything we hear
is an echo', it explores the relationships between the past, the present
and the future.
In North American Spirituals (1998), Finnissy uses the songs that
Tippett featured in A Child of Our Time. These recognisable melodies
appear in fragmentary form, in an Ivesian work which pays homage to experimentalism
and black tradition in American culture.
Allegro penseroso (1999) by the ever-controversial Milton Babbitt
(born 1916) is again complex and full of energy, offering a bewildering
array of inventive ideas.
Nonken plays throughout with superb clarity and accuracy.
Copyright © 12 January 2002
Keith Bramich, London, UK
CD INFORMATION - CRI CD 877
PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM AMAZON
MARILYN NONKEN'S WEBSITE
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