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MALCOLM MILLER at a CD launch of
Peter Feuchtwanger's exotic piano music


The launch of East, a new CD of the complete piano works of Peter Feuchtwanger (Music Chamber CD MC0001), was marked with a recital by Haydn Dickenson given before a capacity crowd in the suitably exotic ambience of London's Leighton House on 12 May 2006. The event was a triple début: a début recording for the pianist, the first CD of all Feuchtwanger's piano music, and the first release of a new record label that specialises in contemporary music, Music Chamber, directed by Richard Caruthers, who introduced the concert.

Peter Feuchtwanger's piano music strikes a resonant note with the pulse of 21st century post-modern piano repertoire, with its eclectic array of middle and far eastern styles and sounds. Though best known as a pedagogue, whose students number a string of concert pianists and who gives regular masterclasses in Switzerland, Feuchtwanger is also a pianist and composer with a fascinating and varied list of works in various genres.

While his compositions for piano are little known, they have been performed by and dedicated to leading concert artists as well as pupils. All the works on the CD are improvisatory in idiom, often hypnotically minimalist and repetitive, imaginatively evoking eastern instruments through an individual use of piano technique, repeated notes, overtones resonating over held pedal notes, and dissonances, seconds and sevenths, evoking and influenced by the myriad microtonal modes and scales of Middle and Far Eastern, the Balkans and Macedonia.

EAST - Haydn Dickenson plays piano music by Peter Feuchtwanger. CD cover photos © Scott Brimley
EAST - Haydn Dickenson plays piano music by Peter Feuchtwanger. CD cover photos © Scott Brimley

Dickenson proved an ideal interpreter, a student of Feuchtwanger for several years who has immersed himself in Indian music, he performed with an uncanny affinity for eastern instruments, making the bright Steinway sound in turn like the Persion Santur (a type of dulcimer), Kannoon and Indian Sitar. The exotic scales and highly ornamental textures created a meditative aura tinged with reflective inward improvisatory spirit well suited to the ambience of Leighton House, with its Moorish and Far Eastern collections.

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Copyright © 17 June 2006 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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