Hayes, Morgan: Lute Stop
1st perf: Sarah Nicolls, The Warehouse, London, 12 December 2003
Lute Stop, inspired by the legendary playing of Glen Gould and Alexis Weissenberg, is the latest bravura solo from Morgan Hayes, an outstanding young British composer of piano music. The interpretative style of these performers, favouring a block-like rather than a nuanced approach to dynamics, is mirrored in the formal aspect of the piece and the extreme dynamic contrasts of its material. Sudden shifts in register, octave doublings and quiet left-hand punctuations also feature prominently in the textures, suggesting changes of registration on a harpsichord – hence the title.
I’ve always had an admiration for pianists who exploit a block-like approach to dynamics, where there is not too much in the way of light and shade. Glenn Gould and Alexis Weissenberg readily come to mind in this regard.
Lute Stop takes its inspiration from this idea, and the suddn shifts in register, octave doublings and very quiet left-hand punctuations reminded me of a change of registration on the harpsichord.
© 2003 Morgan Hayes
This is a big and difficult recital work, inspired by the playing of Gould and Weissenberg and commissioned by the outstanding Sarah Nicolls (for whom these challenges seem to be nothing!). It’s clever, brittle, avant-garde and user-friendly…
John York, Piano, November/December, 2004