MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Choralvorspiele for Piano, Andersen-Liederkreis for Soprano and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 09U058
Label: Hat Art
Description: The Chorale preludes are just that, and very recognisably so, despite the apparent incongruity of the genre coexisting with Finnissy's unrepentantly modern, atonal idiom. It is important to remember, though, that this icon of the British avant garde venerates the great composer-pianists of the past - Godowsky, Grainger, and most relevantly in this case, Busoni. These are Chorale Preludes in exactly the sense in which the Verdi and Gershwin transcriptions are what they say they are. Despite the enormous difference in harmonic idiom and pianistic style, clear references to the Bach-Busoni transcriptions occur throughout these works, and even the thorny pianistic textures (and being Finnissy, the pianistic requirements are formidable, though not in the extravagantly complexicist, ultra-dissonant sense of earlier works like English Country-Tunes) are plainly meant to evoke more traditional chorale preludes. The melodies, departing from the customary catalogue of Lutheran chorales, are tunes from the composer's 'Compositional Curio Cabinet' - an apparently inexhaustible resource that also made its presence felt in A History of Photography in Sound. The songs, to texts by Hans Christian Andersen, also reflect the past, with references to Schubert and reworkings of Schumann's and Grieg's Andersen settings. Again, despite their obvious modernity, the songs sound like a continuation of the lieder tradition, absent extended vocal techniques or acrobatics and with lyrical, melodic word setting. Texts included. Juliet Fraser (soprano), Mark Knoop (piano). No texts. Juliet Fraser (soprano), Mark Knoop (piano).