UT Orpheus G352
Following on from what I thought was a near-miss of a collection of Characteristic Pieces, I opened this book with trepidation. I was relieved. This distinctive voice seems to have found an apt vehicle of expression in etudes. They are mostly focussed on the right hand ; the left hand simply has to (often) hold down stretchy chords.
The Agitato is dramatic and exciting with compositional development. Camminando In Città is very pretty and invites a variety of different right-hand possibilities ; again he has a sound music-thinking head on his shoulders and is shrewd and unpredictable in how this music moves forward. Sequenze has familiar R.H. patterns but with a welcome new palette of sound.
The best, by far, is L’orologiaio which as you might guess, describes a ticking clock. It is programmatic music because clearly the timepiece is malfunctioning at the outset. However, the player mends the cogs and wheels and it ends harmoniously with some chimes. A stunning exercise which is cleverly conceived.
Ritmico has a great moment where he employs a device I use a lot in my arrangements: to deny a note in the texture until a critical dramatic point, in this case bar 71. It’s pretty with a gradually fuller texture asking more of the player. The final Ripetitivo is muscular and is a convincing example of how articulation can be placed at the core of a conception.
I do have some reservations. There are a few tunes which sound faintly Brouwer-esque, and some have perhaps an slight over-reliance on 3/3/2 rhythmic patterns. But these are a small quibbles.
This is a wonderful addition to the repertoire aiming for the Grades 5 to 8 player I would guess. Buy it!! You won’t be disappointed.
Colin Tommis, September 2021