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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars contemporary music at its best, 11 July 2010
This review is from: Fitkin: Circuit (Including Circuit For 2 Pianos/ T1 For 2 Pianos/ Relent For Solo Piano ) (Audio CD)
I've been waiting so long for this cd. Sometimes, when you long for something, your expectations grow so much as to overcome the object of your desire, which finally doesn't reach the level that you thought it should possess. That's not the case with Circuit, the new, eagerly awaited cd by Graham Fitkin. I've always loved Fitkin's piano music, because piano - don't forget that he is an accomplished pianist - is perfectly apt for the clarity of expression and restrain of means, which are two prominent features of his aesthetics. The pieces, both for one or two pianos, included in the cd, are no exception. They fluctuate between the extremes; some pieces are static, almost feldmanesque, and convey a sense of sensual and sometimes mysterious repose; other pieces are restless, hyper-dynamic, suggesting the frenzy and the excitement of modern life. At the middle of these two extremes reside the most interesting pieces (in my opinion) of the cd. Carnal, for solo piano, starts with a gentle motif, which suddenly gives way to a sharper, percussive material. The two distinctive blocks alternate between them, each evolving gradually, until they collide, resulting in sparkling and unexpected combinations. Juxtaposition of musical blocks (another trademark of Fitkin's style) is also the compositional principle governing Circuit, a two piano concerto which lasts (more or less) 20 minutes. It is possible to identify here five distinct blocks, each possessing a distinct character, determined by its melodic profile - besides being a structuralist composer, Fitkin is also a melodist of the first order - and developed through a skilful use of repetition. Again, the distinct blocks not only evolve separately, but intersect with each others, resulting in a sort of cubist grid that traps the listener, who willingly accepts to follow the musical fluxes - full of rhythmic variety, jazzy colours and shimmering orchestration - and to enter in an imaginary, condensed and fascinating reality. When I first listened to Circuit, I felt droved to listen to another great two piano concert by another great English composer: Sir Malcolm Arnold. I think that the two composers have a lot of points in common: rhythmic exuberance, utilization of intersecting musical panels, love of pop and jazz music, intelligent use of repetition, re-evaluation of the principle of pleasure, and, above all, innate melodic talent. Arnold didn't acquire the status of first-order composer during his life, even if he is now recognised as one of the most important English composer of XX century. I hope Graham will not need to wait too much time to be recognised as one of most important composer of XXI century.
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