Notes and Editorial Reviews
"The four movements of Piobaireachd for solo piano heard in the third volume contain some virtuoso writing. The variations of the first movement, “Salute for Clan Ranald,” take the music on a real journey. Harmonic progressions are only weakly directional, imparting a heavy, timeless quality (this goes for the second movement, “The Duntroon Pibroch,” also). McLachlan dispatches the more difficult passages with aplomb. Interestingly, the finale takes its starting point from Chisholm’s own clan, and a sense of pride does shine through.
Chisholm stated that the three movements of his First Sonatina are based on O gloriosa domina by Luys de Narváez (fl. c. 1538). Indeed, the contrapuntal third movement makes the link
known in no uncertain terms before Chisholm subtly and gradually drops his own voice into the harmonic mix. Similarly, the Second Sonatina is based on preexisting material, this time a Fantasia for lute by Luis de Milán (fl. c. 1535) and part of an Agnus Dei from Obrecht’s Missa sine nomine. Neo-Classicist ideas infiltrate Chisholm’s expression in these two works, both of which are absolute gems. The Second Sonatina simply exudes dignity, and McLachlan gives it all the grandeur it deserves. Two dark Laments separate this from the final, and most extended, piece on the disc (the second one veers towards the Impressionist).
The 34-minute Cornish Dance Sonata, which ends the third volume, is one of Chisholm’s earlier works, dating from 1926. Chisholm went to stay in Cornwall with his piano teacher, Lev Pouishnov. Russian music was, in fact, important to Chisholm, who actually gave the first complete performance in Scotland of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in 1926 (actually adding a movement of his own). Two movements of the Cornish Dance Sonata were reworked into his First Symphony. There are three character pieces, such as “The Wet Scythes,” which develops from simple beginnings to virtuoso assaults (the climax is clearly Russian influenced). There are Scriabinesque moments here, as Chisholm explores his various harmonic options. The titles do not reflect the depth of the music: the second movement is called “Chin and Tongue Waggler,” while the finale is misleadingly simply entitled, “With clogs on.” Complex textures vie with the dance impulse to generate considerable excitement. McLachlan navigates the frequently granitic writing easily and confidently."
FANFARE: Colin Clarke
Works on This Recording
Piobaireachd by Erik Chisholm
Murray McLachlan (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Be the first to review this title