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I first came across Peter Garland’s music about 18 months ago and continue to be impressed by its hypnotic beauty, especially in solo piano pieces such as The Days Run Away and Nostalgia of the Southern Cross. This new disc features a 35-minute suite for piano (joined, for one gorgeous minute, by violin), commissioned by his longtime associate Aki Takahashi, plus five songs based on the writings of revolutionary Salvadorean poet Roque Dalton, performed by tenor John Duykers and the Sante Fe New Music Ensemble. The songs are colourfully orchestrated, and have a brash rhythmic vigour; yet it’s the piano suite that I can’t stop playing. Garland, a truly original American ‘outsider’, conjures up simple yet affecting music that brings together echoes of Feldman’s deep calm and Satie’s serene melodicism. Takahashi registers every dynamic nuance in the music’s light-shade interplay, its ruminative spaces threaded by a terse, delicate lyricism. Magical.

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