FRANCIS ROUTH (b.1927): The Well-Tempered Pianist - 24 Preludes.
Catalogue Number: 03M081
Label: Redcliffe Recordings
Reference: RR 021
Description: In this cycle Routh explores, in the manner of numerous composers before him, the concept of a series of works formalising the relationships between keys. In Routh's case this is a 'scale of extended tonality' - the whole-tone scale plus the perfect fourth - which gives a different contour to the set as a whole when played in order, as compared to the diatonic scale. The music is, by definition, tonal, and as a pianist himself, the composer writes with complete understanding of the possibilities of the instrument. As one would expect, individual preludes have distinct characters- little nocturnes, toccatas, scherzi, marches, dances and so on, sometimes suggesting Baroque antecedents, sometimes Classical, Romantic or with touches of impressionistic color, while a degree of harmonic ambiguity places them in the 20th century (in a Busonian, not modernistic sense). A very attractive and effective set of pieces which by rights should easily become 'standard repertoire' (but probably won't). Charles Matthews (piano).