ComposerGeoffrey Poole
ArtistLindsay String Quartet/Joanna Porter/Geoffrey Poole/Jinny Shaw/Anne-Marie Hastings/Gemini
Instrumentsmixed ensemble
LabelMetier (MSV CD 92061)
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Picture of CD of chamber music by Geoffrey Poole performed by the Lindsay Quartet with Jinny Shaw (oboe) Artist: Lindsay String Quartet, Joanna Porter, Geoffrey Poole, Jinny Shaw, Anne-Marie Hastings and Gemini
Geoffrey Poole
The Impersonal Touch
String Quartet No. 3

British composer Poole, in his 50s, now gets the first CD devoted entirely to his music. Its high quality shows how arbitrary recording exposure can be. Poole often likes to think of the piano as a set of drums, as on "The Impersonal Touch" for two pianos, where one pianist explores minimalist processes while the other rhapsodises. "Septembral" for the Gemini ensemble is turbulently expressive. But the highlight is String Quartet No. 3, in a live recording by the Lindsay Quartet, who - the composer claims - regard him as an "instrumental sadist". They'll also know that such sadism is necessary to obtain the remarkable sounds and textures with which this Quartet is suffused. Its aim was to capture an imaginary "Old English" soundworld and despite the fact that it can't do so by purely musical references and contains no Anglo-Saxon lyrics, it miraculously convinces. The air of magic and mystery is sustained by a totally original use of form and sonority - menacing rustlings, pizzicato whisperings and col legno clicks. An extraordinary disc. The Wire

THIS IS an impressive showcase for a British composer (b1949) whose interests range from African drumming to old English folk dance. The latter informs his String Quartet No 3; in contrast is the "hard and sparky" sonority of an oboe and piano duet, Firefinch, inspired by an African bird and brightly played by Jinny Shaw and Anne-Marie Hastings. Poole performs (with Joanna Porter) on The Impersonal Touch, for two pianos, one of which is allocated minimalist repetitions, the other spontaneous subversions of them, the whole climaxing in a Stravinskyan apotheosis. The title piece, written for the ensemble Gemini, is a quasi-Keatsian ode to autumn and a punning essay in "sept timbres", the most striking of which are for glossy bass clarinet with boogie-ing piano.The Sunday Times

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