I met this bloke in a pub, we got chatting about music and then he said he was a composer...
So, I asked his name and he said "James Francis Brown". It also emerged that a disc of his music had been recorded and I promised to look it out. This is the disc.
To be fair, it was the pub across the road from Dorchester Abbey where the opening concert of the English Music Festival 2013 had just taken place. So it was credible.
The music itself is more than creditable, and it is well-performed and recorded. The challenges of being a post-avant garde composer must be immense but Brown's music is tonal, distinctive and worthwhile. I am not going to sit here and tell you it is reminiscent of anyone because the influences aren't obvious. OK the forms aren't new but there is surely scope for 21st century Piano Quartets and Violin Sonatas. The star piece for me shows that the disc is well named. Prospero's Isle is a handsomely crafted quarter hour duo for cello and piano which would be an excellent sampler to download. But all the music here bears repetition and is worth the attention of anyone interested in contemporary music (the earliest piece here - the String Trio - was written in 1996).
JFB seemed a relatively young chap. His music is as approachable as the man. The Presteigne festival in August is apparently the place to hear his music live. I intend to be there.
I suspect we will be hearing a lot more from James Francis Brown, and hopefully in larger forms.