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Kenneth Hesketh, one of the UK’s most vibrant voices, has a brand of modernism that reveals true love for sound itself, and in the sure hands of Clare Hammond, Hesketh’s sure voice shines powerfully forth. The major work is the 42-minute, 12-movement Horae (pro Clara (‘Breviary for Clare’) written for Hammond. Suffused with beauty, this is highly evocative and fragile (as markings such as ‘as fleet as a humming bird’ and ‘like intertwining chime clocks’ indicate). Perhaps Hammond could have given even more to the contrastive ‘maniaco ed instabile’ section, but it seems a small point in the majesty of this performance. Inspired by Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale, Through Magic Casements is an elusive reaction to the original, while Notte Oscura, a transcription from Hesketh’s opera The Overcoat, is granitically gestural. The concluding Japanese Miniatures are far from miniature in heft, despite the charming stories they tell. A significant release.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing