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Born Perth, Australia in 1954, Carl Vine’s reputation is based on his virtuosic, rhythmically complex instrumental works. By the late 1980s these were increasingly tonal – as Vine asserts, ‘radically tonal’ – and formally classical. That’s true of the survey on Lindsay Garritson’s album, an excellent supplement to Michael Kieran Harvey’s Carl Vine: The Piano Music 1990-2006 (Tall Poppies TP190).

Vine’s Sonata No.1 (1990), with its two-movement form and rhythmic energy, is modelled on Elliott Carter’s magisterial Piano Sonata (1946). It approaches Carter’s icon of pianistic modernism in achievement – modernist but not avantgarde, an area worthy of continuing exploration. As with its model, there’s a jazz influence in the bluesy chords that presage its breakneck toccata. The second movement is a motoric moto perpetuo, concluding with a chorale. Sonata No 4 was written for Garritson in 2019, and it’s an inspired successor, in the same stylistic vein of classicist modernism.

The Anne Landa Preludes (2006) include the motoric ‘Sweetsour’, with a bluesy, Gershwinian theme, and the profound ‘Chorale’. Five Bagatelles (1995) culminate in a moving ‘Threnody’. Vine captures a remarkable range of pianistic colours and effects, that are beautifully captured on this lively recording. Performances are first-rate – an essential release.

ANDY HAMILTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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