Fitkin’s majesterial debut simply has no equal.
Vox’s record rating system demands that ten out of ten be considered perfect. Well, nothing is ever perfect so this gets nine – and some. Graham Fitkin has to be one of the most promising composers I have heard to date. His collection on this disc is entirely for piano, sometimes four pianos are used and the resulting eight hands provide a wonderful tapestry of colourful rhythms. Fitkin scores in a highly skilful manner, occasionally adopting classical themes yet retaining a highly modern overall feel to the music. It is exciting music too, quickly attracting one’s attention and managing to hold it throughout. There are some quite outstanding solo pieces played by Fitkin himself with immense attention to detail and time domain. I refuse to predict anything that I may have cause to regret but I will simply suggest that if Graham Fitkin continues to develop his composing for the piano in the direction indicated by his recording then watch out for him. On this showing at least, he is obviously beguiling as both a pianist and composer. As for the disc – almost perfect.
One of the most important pieces of the age, achingly romantic, British pastoral updated to an edgy, utterly contemporary, urban landscape.
From eerie start in ‘Trace’ you feel disorientated, “a thousand twangling instruments hum” in your ears, the relentless drive of the concert harp broken only by the briefest of pauses. The clarity of the sound and the easy flow of melodies disguise the often tricky time-signatures. It would be wrong to describe Fitkin’s music as minimal, he makes complicated sound easy. Wire harp, concert harp and autoharp are overlaid with moog and electronics. The harp is luminous, pastoral and urban at the same time under Wall’s fingers, she pushes the instrument to its limits and Fitkin’s music allows for a certain steeliness and discordance. The sound is immaculate.
It is Fitkin’s great achievement here to write predominantly slow, quiet music that is far from static, his sure sense of shape and feel for orchestral color providing a first-class addition to the repertoire for cello and orchestra. The piece is much more conversational than many concertos, the orchestra not so much accompanying or providing a backdrop but constantly engaging in a musical discourse. It is immensely subtle, unshowy and was perfectly judged in this first performance.
Lost is like a series of musical equations that work their way through the ears into the mind, their rhythmic and melodic themes interweaving, rising and falling. It feels by turn widescreen and microscopic. It’s subtle, uncluttered, minimal and extremely focusing, an album that is a thoroughly absorbing world of tension, suspension and release.
Memorable, mesmerising and addictive.
The combination works lyrical wonders. It’s a music of reverie, one that moves like vapour, thickening and clearing, never staying still or returning to the same place twice.
Perhaps the most accomplished opera in the series to date….Fitkin’s sophisticated minimalist score evolves organically, never relaxing its hold on the audience’s attention.
A beguilingly intimate album that is often dark and mesmeric.
Deftly conceived piece on the supposed certainty and real fragility of bricks and mortar, our shelter from the marauding world outside. Fitkin’s music builds to an impressive barrage of menace (with some wild writing for trumpet and saxophones, the video animation delivered superbly malignant shadows emanating from the fireplace, with the room becoming smothered in brambles and creepers, and the detailed choreography caught every nuance of ever more defensive gestures of possession. Home is effective and ferocious.
It’s engaging, memorable and unpretentious music.
Relent by Graham Fitkin stole the show. Commissioned by Kathryn Stott in 2000, this driving, insistent, almost physical piece charges out of the gate and never looks back: a high octane performance from one of the most impressive pianists heard here in years.
The real discovery of this year’s festival.
A delight that defied all fashionable labels and simply conjured its own whirlygig of ideas with such spontaneity and control.
A spectacular new commission from Graham Fitkin, Helical Strake. The trumpet is in need of new concert repertoire. He’s obviously the man to write it.
Strong rhythmic shapes, sharp melodic profiles, lush orchestral overtones and rich harmonic underpinning.
Not only innovative and accomplished, but enjoyable too. Fitkin’s melismatic music and Jasmin Vardimon’s choreography both gather intensity relentlessly and the performers are admirably assured.