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Classical Music Review

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Works for Piano & Percussion Instruments


Composers: Various
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 08 February 2019

Navona Records's Sustain presents a collection of works by various composers, performed by solo piano and percussion instruments. Within their varied appearances and sounds, the piano, vibraphone, and marimba make up a unique family. Nonetheless, key similarities bind them together, and this album explores just that...

Sustain features works by five different composers. John Dante Prevedini’s 'Lyme Sonata' opens the album, and explores the sonic interplay between smooth and jagged musical voices on piano. Robert Thomas’ 'Moto Perpetuo' and 'Sixteen Lines Circling a Square' create an audial puzzle on solo marimba and on marimba and vibraphone, respectively.

Willem Van Twillert’s 'Adagio for Piano' and 'Andante for Antoinette' presents the composer’s serene, smooth, and in this case romantic, approach to writing music. Daniel Adams introduces 'Solstice Introspect' for three vibraphones. Inspired by the feelings conjured up by the winter solstice, where the day is at its darkest and feelings of both peace and unsettlement are stirred up, the three vibraphones play with the opposing forces of movement and stillness.

John A. Carollo’s 'Piano Etudes' and 'Piano Suite No. 9' take listeners on a multifaceted journey inspired by the romantic sensibilities of Franz Liszt, the intensity and mischievousness of author Edward Gorey’s story Doubtful Guest, and more.

As a collection, this may be a little too modern and experimental for some listeners. Personally, an entire album was a little overkill. I found it hard to separate the styles between composers and in the end it all started to merge into one, roughly thrown together, collection that felt structureless and directionless.

If you're a collector of experimental pieces then you'll probably find much to enjoy here. Traditional classical music lovers may find it a bit fragmented and disjointed.


Darren Rea

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