KENNETH HESKETH (b.1968): Horae (pro Clara), 3 Japanese Miniatures, Notte Oscura, Through Magic Casements.
Catalogue Number: 06R076
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Hesketh's music is challenging and complex, intricate and detailed. Textures are invariably of the utmost clarity; even when hectically rapid toccata-like passages occur the outlines of the gestures are never blurred. Harmonically very free, the music occasionally recalls Dutilleux (with whom the composer studied), and Messiaen, but these impressions are fleeting at best, and are mostly suggested by the translucent color of texture on the one hand and restless rhythmic incisiveness on the other. Hesketh speaks of singing in the cavernous Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool as a boy as having made an indelible impression on him, and the emphasis on resonance, echo effects and a finely judged sense of what works in hugely resonant conditions (either acoustic or created by the piano's sustain pedals) is a constant feature of these pieces. The twelve short pieces that make up the 'Breviary for Clare' explore every type of intricate patterning, often imposing considerable technical demands on the performer, and many evoke complicated miniature mechanisms on the verge of going out of control or pushed to the limits of performance - a recurring idea in the composer's music borne out by the evocatively theatrical performance directions. This kind of precisely etched grotesquerie of image pervades all these pieces, leaving an unsettling impression overavll. Claire Hammond (piano).