|As an overview of Australian composition in the 90s, this CD couldn't be bettered. A musicianly look at the piano repertoire and astoundingly good performances.|
|Carl Vine||Five Bagatelles|
|David Lumsdaine||Postcard Pieces|
|Keith Humble||8 Bagatelles|
|Nigel Butterley||Comment on a Popular Song|
|Nigel Butterley||Il gubbo|
|Ian Munro||The Forest|
|Colin Bright||Earth Flowering Time|
|Ann Ghandar||Four Bagatelles|
|Amanda Baker||from Five Bagatelles|
|John Woolrich||from Pianobooks|
|The music is of an extremely high standard, and bagatelles by Carl Vine, David Lumsdaine and the late Keith Humble stand out for special mention – nothing 'mere' about these – as do Nigel Butterley's Il gubbo, Gyger's Threshold,. and two exquisite miniatures by Munro himself.… the whole project is a most impressive achievement, and Munro plays all the pieces as though they were classics of the repertoire.|
Reviewer: David McKay from Bathurst, Australia
Ian Munro performs interesting piano pieces on the new Stuart piano at Newcastle University Conservatorium. This new piano has special materials, handcrafted in Australia, which include Tasmanian Huon Pine, which is intended to enhance dynamic range and sustain qualities. The instrument is best heard live, though.
This was the first commercial CD to feature the Stuart piano, which has an extra 9 notes, so that the instrument is an 8 octave piano from F to F.
Munro plays works by 12 Australian composers, including himself.
Standout tracks include:
The 5 Bagatelles by Carl Vine
Peter Sculthorpe's Simori
Martin Wesley-Smith's Waltz
Amazon Customer Review
From article about the Stuart & Sons pianos
Of the CD recordings I have so far heard, I recommend these four standouts. The recorded sound of each is excellent, the piano sound layered and nuanced, the playing first-rank:
Ian Munro: Mere Bagatelles (Tall Poppies TP080). Munro plays a set of short pieces for solo piano by various contemporary composers with links to Australia. The music is pianistic and never ugly, and some of it is really quite beautiful; eg, Carl Vine's Bagatelle 5, "Threnody."
David Stanhope Plays... (Tall Poppies TP135) is my favorite—a program of transcriptions that are technically very demanding but musically substantial and rewarding. In addition to Busoni's transcription of Bach's Prelude and Fugue in e-flat, there are eight studies by Godowsky on Chopin Études. Of particular interest is Liszt's transcription of Beethoven's Symphony 8. Stanhope has technique to burn, a penetrating musical intelligence, and should be much more widely known.
The two above discs are on Australia's Tall Poppies label, which seems to be a connoisseuse-run labor of love and is well worth your support.
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