DON KAY (b.1933): Piano Sonatas No. 1 and No. 5 "Full Circle", Introduction, Scherzo and Postlude, Different Worlds, Bird Chants, In Memoriam Malcolm Williamson.
Catalogue Number: 03M084
Label: Tall Poppies
Description: Tasmanian composer Kay writes in a tonal idiom inflected with evocative sounds suggested by the natural scenery and wildlife of his native country, with folk elements, and something of the extrovert popular appeal of his sometime teacher, Malcolm Williamson. His first sonata, from 1998, shows with some folksong influence in the cantabile slow movement and a lively, almost jazzy feel to the last movement, with lively irregular rhythms and syncopated accents. These are also present in the lively scherzo that makes up the bulk of the Introduction, Scherzo and Postlude, and the insistent, almost minimalist second section of Different Worlds. A more impressionistic aspect of his style is evident in parts of Bird Chants, which incorporates stylized renderings of various antipodean bird species (and manages to do so without sounding like Messiaen), and the reflective, in memoriam piece for Williamson, with its gentle, hymn-like quality. The recent fifth sonata is similar in style to the first, strongly rhythmic in the outer movements, with unstable irregular rhythms tipping the music forward, while the central movement is simple and songlike. Vanessa Sharman (piano).