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Jean HASSE KINKH   played by Jean Hasse (composer, piano and flutes) with four percussionists and David Matthews (voice) Visible Music VM-CD 101 [74'49"]

contact Visible Music at
43 The Marina, Flat 2, Deal, Kent CT14 6NN
+44 (0)1304 382294



This is an admirable personal vision brought to fruition over some fifteen years, bringing together a selection of Jean Hasse's compositions between 1985 and 1999. She is an American born composer, living recently in England, also a teacher and multi-instrumentalist whose background in publishing (for Gunther Schuller and Faber Music) has ensured total professionalism in the production of this CD and the scores upon which it is based.

Its main interest may be in the field of contemporary music for piano teaching, a growth area of valuable new repertoire which is likely to transform learning the piano in the 21st century [see also Thalia Myers' Spectrum reviewed on MotW September 1999].

There are 45 tracks of which 31 are tiny Pocket pieces for piano, selected from four progressive books. Some of these have rather twee titles (e.g. Cucumber with jam) such as are familiar in music for teaching; others suggest diary entries (You said you would call - - ) Their musical idiom is not at all daunting, nor is it facile or minimalist, and there is a relaxed jazziness through much of this collection. Plenty to challenge young and older home pianists, and some of them are display pieces which would be effective in public performance.

There are longer pieces, including Kinkh from 1985, its title intended to imply "disjunct, irregular movement" in its use of silence and rhythm (tricky and enjoyable to work at) and Silk Water, a left-hand only gift for Leonard Fleisher, who bravely achieved a new pianistic career after losing the use of his right hand. (Jean Hasse is refreshingly unpompous, e.g. in Silk Water she advises ordinary mortals to use the right hand too as necessary, in preference to rolling chords with the left hand.)

The collection includes too Pulling for multi-tracked flutes (available for performance by large groups of flutes surrounding the audience!) and After Earle (a graphic score for percussion ensemble) brings a welcome break from piano tone. Excellent recording and useful notes, with cover illustration also by Jean Hasse. Many eminent people get credits, including both Matthews composer brothers; David pays a compliment in the Four Bits for piano by singing the phrase You're like a sunny day!

It is really a CD mainly directed towards people who play the piano. Piano teachers and enterprising pupils should acquire it, but it should give considerable pleasure to others too.

   Jean Hasse


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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