Magazine article Gramophone

M. Parsons: 'Patterns of Connection Instrumental Music 1962-2017'

Magazine article Gramophone

M. Parsons: 'Patterns of Connection Instrumental Music 1962-2017'

Article excerpt

M Parsons

'Patterns of Connection Instrumental Music 1962-2017'

Philip Thomas pf Apartment House

Huddersfield Contemporary Recordings

(M)(2) HCR15CD 047' * DDD)

In 1969 Michael Parsons founded the Scratch Orchestra alongside Cornelius Cardew and Howard Skempton. Parsons's music before then tended to post-Webernian atonality; after, he pursued a formalistic, systems-based vein, eventually readmitting indeterminate elements. Apartment House's association with his music is longstanding (Parsons has composed two Apartment House Suites) and here the ensemble present the first substantial survey of his work. Covering six decades, it's a rich collection that helps fill in our picture of British music since the 1960s.

The music is presented in a nonchronological order. Most works are relatively brief, many insistently repeating a given pattern--rhythmic, melodic, contrapuntal--until reaching exhaustion. 12 Part Canon (1997) for solo piano is a case in point, a babbling sheet of colour punched out from minimal means (Philip Thomas plays as if at a musical typewriter). Talea 3 (1999) for solo cello extracts unusual contours from quasi-tonal material. …

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