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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Michael Finnissy, Beat Generation Ballads, Phillip Thomas

I have been getting familiar of late with the music of Micheal Finnissy, and I am glad of it. His Beat Generation Ballads (Huddersfield Contemporary Records HCR 11) is a great example, with recent solo piano works played well by Phillip Thomas. High modernist scatter-splatter dynamics alternate with more ruminative balladry on the two suites represented on this album, "First Political Agenda" (1989-2006), and "Beat Generation Ballads" (2014).

As Phillip Thomas puts it in the liners, Michael's music is often directed towards social and political developments, especially surrounding those of the downtrodden, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised. A tendency toward non-traditional flows are often the case, as you can hear in some nicely jarring, abrupt quiet-to-intensively-dense transitions.

Both suites have substance and are not easy to play. Thomas has mastered them and brings us the full spectrum of tonal-to-atonal, pianissimo to fortissimo shifts.

This is the music of the high modern now, the present beyond the absence.

If you are a sensitive follower of the very new, I cannot but believe that you will respond to this one with interest and pleasure. Viva Michael Finnissy!

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