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Night thoughts

The music of Justin Connolly -
considered by PETER DALE

'Nicolas Hodges ... masters every nuance the musical landscape requires.'

Justin Connolly - Night Thoughts. © 2001 David Lefeber, Metier Sound & Vision


First on this disc is Connolly's Sonatina No 2 (Nicolas Hodges -- piano). It's subtitled Ennead (from the Greek 'nine') but Connolly says he would have called it Night Thoughts -- after the poem by Edward Young, famously illustrated by William Blake -- if Aaron Copland hadn't got there first. These literary/pictorial progenitors help the listener new to Connolly's distinctive musical voice to place him in the wider context of a very English approach to composition. Very different though his voice is, for example, from that of Vaughan Williams, the source of this music is very similar indeed to that of the latter composer's Job.

The Sonatina is in nine short sections, alternately eerie, fantastical, bleary, somnambulant, focussing sharply or softly as the case may be upon the tone row they all derive from. As in dreams, the internal logic is often hard to grasp, but the colourlessness and objectivity -- the clarity of sounds at night -- is mesmerically interesting [listen -- track 1, 2:03-2:59].

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Copyright © 24 March 2002 Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK






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