ELENA KATS-CHERNIN (b.1957): Second Door on the Left, Russian Waltz, Luke's Painting, Eliza Aria, Naive Waltz, Butterflying, Kwong Song Two, Silvery Night, Silver Eucalypt, Autumn, Reflections, Green Leaf, Road to Harvest Show, Mute Princess, Burnished Silver, Melancholic Piece, Silver Pearls, Silver Poetry, Phoenix Story "Tears from Above".
Catalogue Number: 09K110
Label: Tall Poppies
Description: This disc of short piano pieces played by the composer was a fiftieth birthday 'gift' from the label. Accordingly it is a personal, idiosyncratic and slightly self-indulgent affair. The title and some aspects of the 'concept' of the album relate in part to the composer's friend, a chef, one of whose dishes forms the cover art, and for which the recipe is included in the booklet. The pieces are slow or at most of moderate tempo, and gentle, wistful, sometimes sad. Kats-Chernin's trademark harmonious romantic minimalism is often on display - although 'display' isn't quite the right word for so undemonstrative a collection; the repeated gestures and gradual evolution of chord sequences achieve a hypnotic effect rather than dynamic propulsion. The composer suggests, half-humorously, that the disc might be suitable as background music at dinner; while this downplays the music's undeniable sophistication, its gentle melodiousness does lend it to a role as unobtrusive but attractive accompaniment to other activities. Elena Kats-Chernin (piano).