Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Gregers Brinch Piano Works

Diana Baker (piano)

Klyde (No catalogue number)

This CD reminds us of the challenge or dilemma faced by all modern composers, especially for the piano. How can they write originally, without becoming esoteric? Brinch plumps for being accessible, as the title of the CD ‘Blue Harmony’ suggests, his music contains clear elements of blues, trance, minimalism, impressionism and homages to the classical tradition. So it makes for easy listening, at the cost of our wondering how distinctive is his voice.

“Elegy” (which ends the disc) is moving and stately, but it sounds like pastiche, Ravel’s Pavane Plus. The Homage to Joseph Brodsky clearly illustrates the poet’s originating quote ‘The only way is through,’ but in a way some will find simplistic. The piano sonatas’ toccata-like opening, or the quirky sprightliness of the Scherzando-Clog Dance are winning, but arguably sound like imitations of a whole slew of late-romantic, early-modern music.

Brinch is an anglicised Dane, clearly possessed of great facility and fluency in composition. Baker is an able interpreter, though rarely strays from playing the music very ‘straight.’ The recording is bright and modern. I remain to be convinced, however, whether the music is very substantial.

There are a few defects of presentation in a disc that Brinch has obviously himself organised, which are odd, given that his website clearly shows he has a track record in the profession. The booklet is only four pages, which is fair enough, but why then repeat the track listing on the back cover and relegate his own biography (and Diana Baker’s) to the inside of the inlay tray, where it cannot actually be properly read underneath the tray? There is also no catalogue number or MCPS information, making it difficult to buy this disc, and technically illegal to do so (although most composers will rightly feel it is a bureaucratic outrage to have to pay fees to MCPS or PRS to have their own work recorded or performed, only to have this money return (minus administration charges) in royalties.

More on the composer and artist, though little indication of future performances by either from:

www.gbrinch.com and www.dianabaker.net

Ying Chang