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‘The piano must be retuned in just intonation using the tuning system factor of 2, three ratios with highest prime of 3, and two ratios each with highest primes of 5, 7, 11 and 13,’ explains West Coast experimentalist Chris Brown (born 1953). He draws on Cowell, Nancarrow, Harrison and Tenney in his system of ‘just intonation’ – the purest version of unequal temperament, contrasting with the tonal system. But forget the mathematical theory: 75 distinct intervals create evanescent colours that make his new composition sound like a thousand twangling instruments. The pieces alternate between driving, sometimes swinging pulsed sections and ‘chorales’ – a beguiling, intriguing release.

ANDY HAMILTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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