Twelves Romances for Piano
The Wedding [4:40]
Little Star [2:43]
Time to Remember [3:23]
Adrian Lord (piano)
rec. April 2016, Crear House
MUSIC & MEDIA MMC115 [38:07]
British pianist and composer Adrian Lord was born in Cheshire and had fortnightly lessons in piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester before studying for a music degree at Colchester Institute’s School of Music. Composition lessons with Alan Bullard and Christopher Ball followed and he is now an active performer, as a look at his website quickly shows.
He has composed twelve Romances, which he recorded at the acoustically superior Crear House on a Steinway Model D. Each one bears an evocative title and these narratively descriptive pieces, unpretentious and from the heart, are both rewarding and entertaining. The opening Prelude is especially warmly textured, with Lord’s trademark repeated bass figures and crisp, limpid and lively treble playing for maximal contrast. From delicate tracery to richly chorded breadth, this is a life-affirming piece. Journey has an admixture, in places, of Michael Nyman’s writing, though elsewhere it cleaves to the folkloric. He can also mine elements that enshrine a pop sensibility, albeit with moments of tristesse, as in Ripples. His favourite D flat major serves him at several points in this recital, most notably perhaps in the mellow richness of Footsteps, its ruminative element coming – I’m sure coincidentally – quite close to Lilac Wine at one point.
The Wedding is the most cherishably beautiful of the lyrical pieces to be encountered on this album – it was written for his own wedding day – but there is also the domestic-cum-nature setting of Wildfire to demonstrate that Lord is also inspired by topography and place. Other pieces enshrine more compact sensibilities: Little Star, written for his daughter, is tender, whilst Kaleidoscope has the mighty force of organ-like hymnal solemnity. Time to Remember was written as an envoi for his mother and it flows not as an elegy but more as a celebration.
It ends a charming and often touching album. These little pieces are wholly unpretentious and all the nicer for it. The sheet music is available to buy too.