JOHN PICKARD (b.1963): Piano Trio, Insomnia for Violin and Piano, Chaconne for Solo Viola, Valedictions for Cello and Piano, Violin Sonata, Snowbound for Bass Clarinet, Cello and Piano.

Catalogue Number: 11O086

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: TOCC 0150

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: These pieces reveal a composer of considerable individuality, not afraid to retain a tonal idiom (common to all the works here, which cover a 20 year span), albeit in a somewhat extended sense. A certain no-nonsense terseness, bordering on the confrontational, is not infrequent; this might be partly attributed to his studies with Andriessen, though harmonically, Pickard's idiom is closer to British composers such as Alan Bush, Hoddinott, or William Mathias (with the last of whom he also studied). Insomnia is an intense extended fantasia, not wanting for virtuosity, which may also be said of the Chaconne, which displays the composer's penchant for formal architecture. Valedictions is a more consistently lyrical work, rather dark-toned and melancholy, moods which the composer explores more fully in the tense, somewhat sinisterly obsessive Snowbound (it is here that the Andriessen influence is most obvious). Both the sonata and the trio are splendid specimens of their respective genres, tough, tautly argued three-movement structures with an irresistible sense of narrative direction. Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin, viola), Sophie Harris (cello), Ian Mitchell (bass clarinet), Matthew Rickard (piano).

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