A whimsical purchase of a whimsical album. At least it sounds whimsical from here, but you never quite know with someone who was been a member of the Scratch Orchestra with Cornelius Cardew. Perhaps the apparent fluency is the result of some complex formal compositional process, or an attempt to engage, via the vernacular, with the revolutionary potential of the piano-listening proletariat.
I'd never heard of Dave Smith a month ago. I came across this album when researching those in which Tom Phillips had any kind of a hand (the cover is by Phillips, possibly a tie-in with the recording of Phillips' Irma which came out on the same record label around the same time). It didn't matter that I'd heard none of his music: the connections with John Tilbury, Phillips and Cardew told me something; the links to Albania and to Irish Nationalist prisoners of conscience, mentioned in his bio tell me something else. What clinched it was that he's a graduate of Magdalene College — it turns out all the pieces on this album date coincide exactly with our last year there (the last, Friday 13th June 1986, being the date of my final night at the college).
With titles like Thelonius, some of First Piano Concert seems to be piano music about piano music. For a moment I wondered if "Dave Smith" might himself be an invention. According to Wikipedia, he wrote a piece in 2000 called Murdoch or Fred West — which is best? Reconsidered, which makes him seem an almost mythical Cassandra figure. Yet traces of his activity as recent as a recital in May suggest he is not just a Henry Rhodes Hamilton character. In my mental pigeon holes, this will join Simon Jeffes' Piano Music, Mike Adcock's work, and maybe Goldmund's Corduroy.
… And that's your lot. You're now fully up to date with the entirety of my collection: 2,035 posts over 2,042 days (including my seven days paternity leave in August 2008); and there will be no more. I realised the other day that Lucy and I have been together for eight years now, and for over five and a half of these years I've been disappearing to my office to write this blog. When I mentioned on Facebook this week that I was a few days away from completing Music Arcades, I got a "like" from Lucy. As likes go, that one spoke volumes. I like it too.
I'll post a few reflections shortly. Meanwhile, if you've just arrived here for the first time, well, you're a bit late and the party's over, but here's what this was all about.
|Buy direct via Matchless Recordings||
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Wikipedia entry for this album
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