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Uncommon Ground: Music of Michael Finnissy Hardcover – 30 Jan 1998

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x90314eac) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x905b6978) out of 5 stars Detailed and Insightful Exploration of Finnissy's Music 11 Oct. 1998
By Kirsty Beilharz (beilharz@ozemail.com.au) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The editors provide an interesting balance of musicological analysis, furnished with a rich plethora of musical excerpts, bibliographical and performance information and biographical remarks. The remarks by Finnissy, in interview, about his personal experiences, approaches to writing music, philosophies of purposefulness and passion, reveal a private and personal side of the composer which is fascinating and insightful, encapsulating the gritty conflicts and daring integrity that are espoused in the music. All too rarely are we privy to the highly personal process of writing music and, certainly, even more rarely, eloquently expressed by the composer himself. The writers are close colleagues, professional experts and performers of Finnissy's music. Main focus areas of the book are Finnissy's piano music, music for stage or theatre (including opera) and vocal religious music. For a composer, scholar, or performer, especially, these interpretations are extremely relevant and helpful. Ian Pace, acclaimed repertory-pioneering pianist, and the other authors have written detailed and substantial analyses that, importantly, provide the only significant body of writing, apart from Richard Toop's (also pertinent) earlier essay, about this prominent, perhaps neglected, and thoughtful contemporary (British) composer.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x905b524c) out of 5 stars Wonderful book on wonderful composer working at the extremes 20 July 2001
By scarecrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've ever encountered Michael Finnissy's music,it is one,melted,unionized with the vigors of the lifeworld, from the complexity of the voice of the post-war avant-garde, to the art of transcriptions, and the complexity of tapping into various folk cultures. While in residence flying over Australia this inspiration seized control, something from an image from(borrowed) of Heiddeger, of capturing the essence of ancient man,his/her rites of passage,the complexity that is at the center of culture. We find this thinking in Finnissy's music,(more the chamber and solo works) dare I say all of it, not only the piano solo sets and myriad numbers solos, and fascinating transcriptions,arrangements we(one) would find.There is always some fascinating cross handed plan at work in his music, like in the piano solo JAZZ, where he had utilized Beethoven's Bagatellen scheme as like a cantus firmus. It seems Finnissy's creativity knows no boundery markings, he strongly pursues his complex craft, well past what others would die gasping for oxygen within the quagmire of daily compositional tasks. Ian Pace who has performed his music countless times, the Piano Concerti (Seven of them) writes on the piano solo music, beginning at the beginning. The Englishness surveyed and scoured in the English Country Tunes was a delight, to finally focus on each piece. I've heard the recording, Finnissy's music is difficult to bare if you don't have the conceptual frame, In fact knowing the work's impetus is a pre-requisite toward its full cognitive experience. I cannot ad much more than the previous reviewer on basic descriptions of this book. It's always of great interest to read orchestral discussions which Julian Anderson does so well, in basic descriptions of the finctions,timbre,shape,and contour of Finnissy's more advanced scores as Red Earth, and Offshore, and Eph-phatha complete with scale utilizations of the latter.
A conversational like interview with most of the writers precedes the chapters body. There he discusses such topics as "living in England" "Folk" as in music, his use of it.Also "Working Methods",this I found there could have been more technical displays of numbers of drafts per work, when is a work complete, or you feel it is,basic items of this lifeworld as what pen, and ink and paper is utilzed makes for interesting reading for us, out here. and basic fare as "Education".
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