The Irritable Hedgehog label (lllllllove that name!) has undertaken to reproduce some older very undersung progressive piano music and decided to put the renditions in the extremely capable hands of R. Andrew Lee, whose work, frankly, I find to be as interesting as David Tudor's coverage of John Cage, though, of course, for different reasons. Last time out, I covered the Tom Johnson piece An Hour for Piano (here) and am in fact naming it among my 20 favorite CDs for 2011 in Perfect Sound Forever (I'm back in the mood for lists, so I'll be doing one here as well, a different roster because of all the great discs I've run across over the last 365 days in FAME). The Time Curve Preludes is somewhat in a vein with Hour in that Duckworth isn't your average composer. However, where Johnson's composition captured elements of Jarrett and Nyman alongside his own distinctions, Duckworth traces Satie, Hovhaness, later Corea (esp. the Delphi stuff), and more florid influences.
There's far more narrative structure in Duckworth's material, a larger pictorial element, albeit at first subdued and serene with rippling undertones seeming to look over an unsettling edge. Ah, but then, in Prelude IX, for instance, a mannered staccato alarm erupts, dancing away into abstracter climes, and we feel as though whisked into a Tanguy painting with Braque borders. The entire disc-long piece is episodic, often serial, often not, sometimes meandering, but always a bit unexpected, anticipatory. I couldn't even begin to tell you how to listen to it, basically a set of exotic miniatures, save to say I wouldn't use Preludes as dinner music or accompaniment to a tryst—a quiet room, dim lights, maybe a few candles, and a glass of malbec would be more appropriate, but with cerebellum and ears firmly engaged.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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