Howard: Skempton - Piano Works (24/96 FLAC)
Howard: Skempton – Piano Works (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Howard Skempton
Performer: William Howard
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Orchid
Release: 2020
Size: 1.12 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

24 Preludes & Fugues
01. No. 1 in C Major
02. No. 2 in C-Sharp Minor
03. No. 3 in D Major
04. No. 4 in E-Flat Minor
05. No. 5 in E Major
06. No. 6 in F Minor
07. No. 7 in G-Flat Major
08. No. 8 in G Minor
09. No. 9 in A-Flat Major
10. No. 10 in A Minor
11. No. 11 in B-Flat Major
12. No. 12 in B Minor
13. No. 13 in C Minor
14. No. 14 in C-Sharp Major
15. No. 15 in D Minor
16. No. 16 in E-Flat Major
17. No. 17 in E Minor
18. No. 18 in F Major
19. No. 19 in F-Sharp Minor
20. No. 20 in G Major
21. No. 21 in G-Sharp Minor
22. No. 22 in A Major
23. No. 23 in B-Flat Minor
24. No. 24 in B Major

Nocturnes (3)
25. No. 1,
26. No. 2,
27. No. 3,

Reflections
28. No. 1,
29. No. 2,
30. No. 3,
31. No. 4,
32. No. 5,
33. No. 6,
34. No. 7,
35. No. 8,
36. No. 9,
37. No. 10,
38. No. 11,

Images
39. Song No. 2
40. Prelude No. 3
41. Interlude No. 8
42. Interlude No. 2
43. Interlude No. 1
44. The Cockfight
45. Prelude No. 7
46. Interlude No. 5
47. Prelude No. 8
48. Interlude No. 3
49. Prelude No. 2
50. Prelude No. 6
51. Interlude No. 4
52. Variations
53. Interlude No. 6
54. Interlude No. 7
55. Prelude No. 4
56. Prelude No. 5
57. Prelude No. 1
58. Postlude (The Keel Row)

The experimental music of Howard Skempton has gained admirers of late, and those wishing to sample it would do well to check out this release by pianist William Howard, Skempton’s primary piano champion. Skempton’s music is hyper-concentrated but generally not dissonant and sometimes limpidly diatonic; someone once credited Skempton with “the emancipation of the consonance.” The 24 Preludes and Fugues that open the program help to clarify what Skempton is doing. Despite the seemingly neoclassic or neo-Baroque title, Skempton reformulates the idea of the prelude and fugue. Each half of each piece, in total typically only about one minute long, lays out its basic material and then stops, sometimes quite suddenly, and it’s as if the fugue merely presents a vertical arrangement of the tonal content of the prelude. The other three works, all collections of short pieces (the three Nocturnes are slightly more expansive), likewise refer back to established genres and tonalities but have an entirely fresh aspect. Howard has a clean, circumspect style that respects the quiet complexity of the music. A release that only grows more delightful on repeated hearings.

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