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Fitkin - Circuit

Circuit for two pianos and orchestra
T1 for two pianos
Relent for solo piano
Carnal for solo piano
From Yellow To Yellow
White for two pianos
Furniture for solo piano
T2 for two pianos

Noriko Ogawa & Kathryn Stott (pianos)
Tokyo Symphony Orchestra/Naoto Otomo


When his was a new name, I enjoyed the prolific pianist/composer Graham Fitkin's appearances in small London venues like The Space in Docklands.

Fitkin is more interested in structure and contrast than in tonal nuances or colouristic effects. He uses repetition (and near-repetition) a lot; if he has a heart, he keeps it well hidden. So his music is, typically, hard driven and exhilarating on first acquaintance. But most of it does not encourage repeat listening, nor is a disc such as this one recommended for hearing straight through.

Kathryn Stott and Noriko Ogawa present here a selection of Fitkin's numerous works for one and two pianos, as well as the double concerto Circuit. There are contrasts, such as the quieter pieces here From Yellow to Yellow (1985) and the slow T1 which exploits the resonant acoustic of the St Ives Tate Gallery, where he had a residency.

It is all well recorded but is the sort of disc that should be sampled before purchase. There are tracks to be heard on his infuriatingly gimmicky website, where you have to catch a revolving cube first to navigate to where you want...

Peter Grahame Woolf