From the Book of Longing - Ian Wilson (RVRCD65)

Wilson - from the Book of Longing
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Familiar for his String Quartets and Proms commission Man O'War, Irish composer Ian Wilson has been a name to watch almost from the moment he finished his studies. Now pianist Hugh Tinney and violinist Catherine Leonard present a fascinating retrospective of Wilson's changing voice: from the taut minimalism of BIG (1991) and Drive (1992) to the verdant lyricism of A Haunted Heart (1998) - written in the wake of the Omagh bombing - and the tender pointillism of Spilliaert's Beach (1999). The tension between cool clarity and an almost Ravelian sensuality links the works, played with admirable transparency by Leonard and Tinney.

May 23rd 2004, The Independent. Reviewed by Anna Picard.


from the Book of Longing ****

This survey of eight works by Ian Wilson ranges from the often chunky piano solo BIG of 1991 up to Verschwindend of 2001, a more nervy and snatchy type of piano piece that sounds as if the composer is intentionally constraining the message trying to make its way out. Only one of the three violin and piano works - the tango-infused from the Book of Longing - is originally for that combination of instruments (though the impressionistic, obsessive Spilliaert's Beach, originally with alto flute, has transferred extremely well), and the longest work, Lim, is the piano part of Limena, minus the orchestra. In spite of the varied surface finishes, what stands out on this CD is the underlying romanticism and also the consistent sensitivity and polish of both performers.

August 2004, Irish Times. Reviewed by Michael Dervan


from the Book of Longing

"The new disc of music from Belfast-born composer Ian Wilson, From the Book of Longing, features the impressive duo of Catherine Leonard on violin and Hugh Tinney on piano. Wilson has obviously found a kindred spirit and a sympathetic interpreter with this violinist, so much so that he has arranged two pieces - Drive was originally for soprano saxophone and Spilliaert's Beach for alto flute - to add to the music written especially for her.

Perhaps the composer enjoys Leonard's romantic leanings - the opening of the title track, From the Book of Longing, shares an obvious affinity with the sound world of Cesar Franck's Violin Sonata.

But Hugh Tinney is an equal partner on this disc and provides a mini retrospective of Wilson's piano music including the major piece Lim, extracted from the composer's piano concerto of 1998.

Despite the occasional post-minimalist rhythmic excursion, it's Wilson's innate lyricism which is dominant throughout the pieces here. With over an hour of music, this is a major issue, and covers 10 years of composition from the 1991 BIG, to the 2001 Verschwindend."

15th May 2004, Belfast Telegraph


"Recently released on a new label, Riverrun Records, Ian Wilson's CD entitled from the Book of Longing includes music for violin solo, piano solo, and the two combined. Hugh Tinney and Catherine Leonard do a beautiful job and are sensitively recorded. This and the remarkable stylistic variety, as it ranges over ten years of this composer's working life, makes for a CD that may throw up questions, but never flags. Although some of the pieces have been rearranged form versions for other instruments, such as saxophone and alto flute, they all translate well to their new setting. The music, while all just within the contemporary art-music spectrum, varies in flavour across modal, neo-romantic, post-minimal, jazz-tinged and a more complex, tougher style. Even there one can discern a haunted sense of consonance ruling over dissonance, and a relaxed pace of musical development. The ten years covered are 1991 to 2001, and it is nice to be able to say that the deeper, more satisfying works are all from 1996 to 2001. Four pieces that stand out are Verschwindend, Lim, A Haunted Heart and Spilliaert's Beach."

Sept-Oct 2004, The Journal of Music in Ireland. Reviewed by John McLachlan

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