White Book 2 continues with the theme of conjuring up places and ideas that are both real and imaginary. The pieces are more self contained than those of the first White Book, and at times clear melodic lines seize the centre stage. There is a greater sense of gravitational tonal organisation, which allows the music to explore areas of emotion that were outside the remit of the earlier pieces. The condensed and crystalline structures of the first book are replaced by something more expansive and far reaching, with an emphasis on sentiment rather than strict thematic organisation.
This set was premiered by Mark Tanner at Wigmore Hall, and once again Mark is playing on these recordings.
Undiscovered Islands evokes the music of an imaginary culture. Its unhurried and lyrical flow is punctuated by moments of more percussive playing – all leading steadily towards a peak of intensity.
Undiscovered Islands – audio
Night Journey to Cordoba
This piece takes its inspiration from a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca which is full of unease and despair. The mood is captured in the dark colours of the opening, and in the insistent rhythms that echo in the subterranean register of the piano.
Night Journey to Cordoba – audio
The composition of this piece was in response to the light, intricate dragon designs of China. The filigree rhythmic patterns and energetic keyboard writing undulate and twist throughout the score.
Dragon – audio
Once again – like The Emperor’s Field from the earlier book – this is the ‘still centre’. The mood is introspective and enigmatic, with the harmonies drifting freely across the keyboard.
Inner Moon – audio
The Sadness of the King
The title of this piece comes from a painting by Henri Matisse, and the music fuses certain classical and tango elements in my writing. The ternary structure is held together by a lyrical melody that searches its way through the harmonic framework, before dissolving away in the final bars.
The Sadness of the King – audio