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Jeremy Dale Roberts

Winter Music
Croquis (string trio)
Oggetti - Omaggio it Morandi (piano solo)
Wieglied (viola solo)

Lontano and Takenouchi

Lorelt LNT118

The music of Jeremy Dale Roberts (b. 1934) is a very specialised taste, often elusive to the point of near-vanishing. There are large scale works, but the collection here is mostly of aphorisms which out-do Webern for their brevity and eliptical quality.

The main work is the set of piano Ogetti which I took to warmly in the live première performance (PLG Young Musicians 2004) by the pianist here, Hiroaki Takenouchi*. To listen to them you need the volume fairly well up, to catch the resonances inside the piano which are important.

Heard again at home, with the score, I was less convinced. The composer regards them as sketches, work in progress, and they do sound like jottings on a study pad. The instructions to the perfomer are obsessively (excessively?) detailed, out of scale with what the listener will hear; the composer describes it as 'a hermetic, withdrawn world' - perhaps I was just in the wrong mood to enter it?

The Croquis for string trio are, likewise, 'a sheaf of bagatelles - - the odd scribble, provisional'.

The high-lying Winter Music is attractive in its sonorities, three woodwinds with trumpet, celeste and bells. Not as gloomy as its provenance 'in the limbo of winter, a dark period' of the composer's life would suggest.

'Hardly a square meal - more like a string of tapas...'; the composer writes that, not me, but it sums up my uneasy feeling about this unique CD. Recording and performances by Lontano and Takenouchi seem excellent.

* delicate aphorisms which brought to mind the spare piano pieces of Kurtag and Woolrich; with them Takenouchi demonstrated that virtuosity is a matter of touch and sensibility equally as prestidigitation and power.

© Peter Grahame Woolf