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MAWHINNEY Music for piano & violin

Batu for Piano, Barcode III for Violin, Hunshigo for Violin and Piano

Mary Dullea, Piano & Darragh Morgan, violin

Altarus 01K099

This disc, which I've listened through twice, is as weird as they come. One peculiarity is that no track timings are available until you have them on your computer !

SIMON MAWHINNEY (b.1976) is a Northern Ireland born composer who has had considerable successes in the rarified avant garde world. He uses both improvisation at the piano and computerised systems from IRCAM to achieve his scores. He is fortunate to have these interpreters. The sounds are, on and off, quite seductive and both musicians are stretched to the limits.

Of the three pieces, the first two last 10 and 5 minutes respectively. The last, however, turns out to be a massive 45 minutes duo in a single continuous movement, as grandiose as anything you'll come across, composed at the piano "in a daily trance", and "a sense of drift".

A 35 mins draft was reduced to 15 minutes (and played by these artists) and then expanded for this recording to its definitive version here by fully exploring "the ramifications of what the ideas were suggesting". Influences apparently are Ogdon's pianism, Sorajbi, Messiaen and Boulez...

The liner notes are thorough, and thoroughly incomprehensible unless you have a PhD in the field, I fear. Reviews from one or two of those elite would be welcome, please.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also the Fidelio Trio (New Irish Music) and New Irish Trios.