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This disc celebrates Michael Finnissy’s 70th year with premiere recordings of two major piano works: First Political Agenda (1989-2004) and Beat Generation Ballads (2014) with Phillip Thomas as a persuasive interpreter. Finnissy is a prolific composer with a gamut of influences, styles and references. His music is often forbiddingly complex, especially rhythmically. Beat Generation has four short movements that refer to Allen Ginsberg, Beethoven’s Op 74 quartet, an Irish Republican song and Bill Evans’ ‘My Foolish Heart’. These are followed by a 34-minute set of variations based on their material. The style has rightly been called digressive, locking the listener into the moment, and references and allusions are buried deep. Music to admire but not – except for a small number of cognoscenti – to love.

ANDY HAMILTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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