DOUGLAS FINCH (b.1957): Ruins for Flute, Violin and Piano, Fantasy on a Russian Folksong for Piano Trio, Lamentations for Alto Flute, Violin and Piano, Summer for Cello and Piano, Landscape III for Violin and Piano, for Solo Piano: Lyric, Chorales I-III, Ucluelet (Landscape IV).
Catalogue Number: 09S072
Label: Prima Facie
Description: These chamber and piano works are vividly atmospheric, evoking a powerful sense of time and place from just a few brush strokes, so to speak. The composer confesses to a 'predilection for themes of solitude, mourning and spiritual longing', and this is reflected in the titles of some and the nature of most of the pieces here. The music is based in tonality, and Finch makes great use of the resonant capabilities of the piano to suggest great spaces, distances and the inexorable passage of time. Ruins suggests fragmentary glimpses at decaying romantic-era edifices, and Lyric also portrays a desolate natural landscape. Even the Fantasy, though based on an identified Russian theme, has more in common with the windswept Welsh coast where it was written. The two Landscapes are desolate washes of sombre colors; the ominous presence of looming thunderclouds is suggested by climactic, resonant piano chords. The Chorales are spare, intense and reverential, more suggestive of the echoing spaces of a vast deserted cathedral than of actual hymns for the living to sing. Lamentations is a 9/11 piece, begun while the composer was, ironically, working on music for a satire on themes of violence in society, when the news of the terrorist atrocity struck. Sustained, dissonant tones and tolling bells haunt this utterly dark and inconsolably tragic piece. Lisa Nelsen (flutes), Mieko Kanno (violin), Caroline Szram (cello), Aleksander Szram (piano).