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This disc is valuable for being only the second commercial recording of music by David Earl, who turned 60 last year. My enthusiastic review of the first, featuring his Third Piano Suite (‘Mandalas’) and his Cello Sonata, appeared in the January/February 2008 issue of IP along with the score of one of the movements of ‘Mandalas’.

Old Roses dates from that year, and was commissioned by the performer here, South African Renée Reznek. Lasting just over eight minutes, it is a nostalgic reverie (in memory of Reznek’s parents), predominantly reflective but with an anguished climax. Earl himself writes that it ‘depict[s] an ongoing valediction to love given and taken, as well as a mediation on the mystery of life’s impermanence’. Like all Earl’s music, it is immediately accessible but repays repeated hearing.

Reznek plays it sympathetically, as she does all the music on this, her first disc, albeit with occasional rhythmic licence. The main drawback is the close recording, which flatters neither her nor the composers, rather nullifying her attempts to differentiate dynamic levels.

This disc, available only from Reznek’s website, www.reneereznek.com, gives but a taste of Earl’s distinctive music and, while it is well worth hearing, I do urge you to acquire the abovementioned recording, on Divine Art (DDA25060), as well as to visit Earl’s website, www. davidearl-pianist.net, to find out about performances of his extensive and varied oeuvre (and by him, as pianist). Further information is to be found in my article ‘Wild About Earl’ in IP March/April 2008.

JOE LAREDO Read the full review on Agora Classica


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