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Piano 40's eighth London concert, on 13 February 2004 at the Purcell Room, consisted of eight items:

It began with Brian Chapple's Burlesque. The extended introduction, with its richly scored timbre reminding me of Sir William Walton, moving gracefully into Spanish rhythms for the second section. During the third, I sensed a rhumba motif with syncopated touches leading to repeats, interchanges and interelationship of material. The final part contains elements of jazz and blues, with additions of satire and some help from Gershwin.

Less involved, but more effective in its brevity, Michael Garrett's Introduction and Promanade presents opening stanzas in a structural way that clearly shows the boldness of style that follows -- a Promenade of virile, somewhat pompous propensity which becomes the subject of a striding development. The work rises to a resplendent close.

And No Birds Sing by Vivienne Olive depicts the desolation of bird life in Italy. The work associates with the poet John Keats and his famous poem La Dame Sans Merci, situated on a lakeside that depicts dead and withered specimens. In Messiaen-like stanzas extending through bass, middle and treble clefs, the work not only portrays a remembrance of what actually took place, but acts as a kind of preventative warning to stop any recurrence of similar unwanted destruction. A variety of 'bird calls and twitterings' are heard over and above solemn accompaniment.

Ingolf Dahl was born to Swedish parents. He went to California where he was befriended by Stravinsky. Quodlibet on American Folk Tunes 'The Fancy Blue Devil's Breakdown' is an intriguing display of changing ideas surrounding a well-known folk tune. While the symbolic functional aspect is fairly obvious, permutations of the melody allow for variation writing to occur in part. Square Dance claps act as a conclusion.

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Copyright © 22 April 2004 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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