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Piano Music by William Baines and
Eugene Goosens.
Alan Cuckston (piano)
FEW 119 CD
Available from Foxglove Audio.  10 Springwood Road, Rawdon, Leeds, LS19 6BH, UK
Telephone and fax 0113 250 7282,

William Baines
Pictures of Light:
 Drift Light; Bursting Flames: Pool Lights
A Last Sheaf: Glancing Sunlight; Island of the Fay
Concert Study no. 1 "Exaltation"
Idyll (Nocturne) from Piano Sonata
Elves., no. 2 of Four Poems
Paradise Gardens
Tides: The Lone Wreck; Goodnight to Flamboro'
Eugene Goosens

Nature Poems ; Awakening; Pastoral : Bacchanal.

I have campaigned for many years to have British music recorded and thereby redress the problem of the neglect of some composers.

There are still many fine works by British composers that are not recorded such as Richard Arnell's six symphonies, Humphrey Searle's flawless Riverrun, Apivor's The Hollow Men and so on.

But when I hear this enterprising CD, I wish the music had not been recorded and I see another side of the problem. Some music is so poor that it should not be recorded. It can result in bad reputations.

I am sure that Allan Cuckston, being the distinguished player that he is, has been faithful to these scores, none of which I know and he must be complimented on bringing this music into the public domain.

This music of William Baines has no originality or strength. It has nothing to say and takes a long time to say it. It is a sort of intense French impressionism in which the composer is trying to be modern and introducing harmonies that do not belong to the style he is trying to emulate. The music is depressing, anaemic and seriously affects one's senses. Drift Light suffers from many flaws such as the right hand ostinato which is so wearisome that one could be forgiven for believing one was a mental patient. This feeling pervades much of Baines' music. Bursting Flames also has the capacity to make you feel disorientated. Pool Lights is also dependent on musical devices. Glancing Sunlight has that intensity that makes you feel that your head is about to explode. The music is not immediate or durable It is full of tonal ambiguity. Island on the Fay is equally depressing. One longs for something to happen in this music. Like Delius and Elgar, Baines could not write for the piano nor could they write any quick music. Intense atmosphere, threatening thunderstorms, muggy and oppressive heat is not my idea of good music. The Concert Study has not a hope of living up to its subtitle. The slow movement of the Sonata is meandering Victorian sentimentality., crude and cheap. The Tides pieces fare a little better. At least, one can see where the composer is going but nothing happens. It is like a Jane Austen novel.

The Goossens is far better but still poor music. He was a fine composer of orchestral music and a splendid conductor. Who can ever forget his Schumann Piano concerto with the excellent Peter Katin. The end of Goossens life was devilled by an atrocious scandal. But he could not write for the piano either. Only the final piece has any hope but it is very poor compared to bacchanals written by great composers such as the final movement of Fleischmann's Sinfonia Votiva.

I cannot comment on the performances or the recording honestly. I can only assume that they are good.

But the music gets a big minus.

David Wright


David Wright

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