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Michael Blake: Complete Works for Solo Piano 1994-2004


On the 12th of May 2023 we will issue a release from the catalogue of Michael Blake. Here is the press release to accompany the album.


Michael Blake: Complete Works for Solo Piano 1994-2004

The first release on Blake’s own label, Michael Blake Edition, brought together all his solo piano music written over a decade from 1994-2004. The recording artist was Johannesburg-based pianist and long-time collaborator, Jill Richards. It was released as MBED 001 in 2008.

Two longer pieces, French Suite (Two Dances) from 1994 and Ways to put in the salt from 2002 frame a bunch of miniatures, all written for particular occasions and particular pianists: John Tilbury, Antony Gray, Daan Vandewalle, Marcel Worms, Sally Rose and Jill Richards.

The composer has said: “Each of these nine short piano pieces, composed independently over a period of about nine years, and published as a set, has a connection with an earlier composer, sometimes drawing on that

composer’s music: Bach, Satie, Ives, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Cole Porter, Meade Lux Lewis, and Nofinishi Dywili. They could be portraits or homages or reflections; but in any event these are all composers whose work has been important for my own composition. I think of these short pieces as my workshop, an opportunity to try out techniques that can be developed in larger scale compositions.”

Christine Lucia’s short essay in the CD booklet says: “Blake’s music can seem unassuming as it proceeds from bar to bar, but this is a deception for when the journey of the piece is over its impact acquires a cumulative significance – after the fact, as a whole – that one is not conscious of moment by moment. The music has a great deal of humour, in the spirit of making listeners aware how silly life can be, but it also touches the grimmer sides, with glimpses of deep melancholy or desolation.”

Legendary New Music pianist John Tilbury noted that “you can feel its African provenance, and Shaun de Waal, writing in the Mail & Guardian, felt “There is a sense of a lovely simplicity that has, in fact, been shaped from a deep complexity. They feel old and new at the same time.”

Michael Blake Edition, 5 May 2023


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