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William Howard Plays Howard Skempton

By Howard Skempton

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Composed by Howard Skempton (1947-). Classical. CD. Naxos #ORC100116. Published by Naxos (NX.ORC100116).

Item Number: NX.ORC100116

William Howard performs the solo piano music of Howard Skempton in a collection that includes Skempton's 24 Preludes and Fugues, inspired by J.S. Bach's example but in a contemporary style. Skempton's piano miniatures are concise, crystalline gems: clear, colorful and bright. There is a neoclassical quality to Skempton's Preludes and Fugues, which exude a serene, almost otherworldly atmosphere, tempered with a sense of intimacy and refinement. Each Prelude consists of a spare, canonic piece, and each Fugue is woven into an intricate but delicate texture of interlacing lines. Skempton's Three Nocturnes are richer and more fluid, at times darker-hued and enigmatic, with the use of jazz inflections but with a similar clarity of texture to that heard in the Preludes and Fugues. The Reflections are exquisite windows into a world of contemplative introspection, and the Images represent a varied collection of miniatures culminating in a Postlude based on The Keel Row, a folk tune from the north of Britain also used in Debussy's orchestral Images - perhaps a nod to the impressionistic aspects of these works, as alluded to by Skempton in his album notes: "The landscape of these four collections of pieces is gently unpredictable...".

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