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Friday, April 25, 2014

Sean Hickey, Cursive, Piano and Chamber Works

Sean Hickey composes like a "natural", meaning that his music strikes one as a kind of inevitable expression of a personal musical self. The music doesn't call attention to itself as a breakthrough model of a new style. He writes music in an international modern vein. His Concertos album I posted on here last May 31st. What I found to be true of his large-scale works carries over to this nicely played collection of small chamber pieces, Cursive (Delos 3465).

That is, they are extremely well-crafted, expressive works that sit solidly with the listener (me) after a few listens. In all, the collection features works written between 1998 and 2012, six for piano solo, one for violin and piano, and a work for flute, viola and harp. Philip Edward Fisher gives us sensitive and dynamic readings of the piano works, Julia Sakharova joins him on violin for the duo piece, and the trio "Pied-a-tere" showcases Brandon Patrick George on flute, Anne Lanzilotti on viola and Meredith Clark on harp. All sound especially well disposed towards this music and give us lyrical and spirited readings.

The chamber music of Maestro Hickey as heard on this disk has rhythmic drive and a subtly invigorating modern harmonic and melodic thrust.

Sean Hickey has talent and, while by no means attempting to stretch the borders of the contemporary idiom, manages to create works that have a kind of lasting personal impact, an eloquent vocabulary of melodic-harmonic ideas well expressed.

Not all music is meant to change the world. Some is meant to brighten the space around it, to draw you into its own particular world with both beauty and strength. That's what Sean Hickey's chamber music does to me, as heard on this set.

I think you will find this anthology a welcome addition, with a music as comfortable as a favorite pair of sneakers, as contentful as a favorite volume of poetry. Listen and be convinced.

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