Some beautiful thoughts by Peter on listening to Liam’s Sketches played by Alex and I earlier this year.


Recordings are available here.

As I hear it, the first sketch takes Furrer’s Presto con fuoco and conjoins it with vague allusions to late Carter. The piano writing in particular reminds me of Furrer’s Phasma in its ‘different-but-always-the-same’ harmonic field. Listen to the start of Phasma for solo piano from 2002. There is an ever present harmonic pedal that grounds the otherwise frenetic material. It seems Flenady is operating in a similar fashion. The reference to Furrer is also seen in the piano’s articulatory style; the short chords I hear as versions of the same sonority, interspersed with gestural shapes in the high register that point to Messiaen. The flute operates like the piano, but with different material: instead of short glimpses of the sonority, it holds static pedal tones, then briefly becomes gestural (in a different time-division to that of the piano), before returning to static long tones…

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