Born in 1947, Howard Skempton adds to his already substantial tally of more than 300 pieces with these 58 exquisite miniatures for solo piano – the shortest barely half a minute, the longest a whisper over three minutes – arranged into four sets. Composed between 1989 and 2019, their startling economy of scale harks back to Skempton’s early interest in minimalism. But they are much more than mere exercises in clinical reductionism, the dominant accent a becoming tonal lustre. Compact, considered and concentrated though they are, they seem, under William Howard’s nimble, nuanced fingers, more like buds blossoming into the most fragile and fragrant flowers. Less, here, is decidedly more, Skempton spinning glorious, glistening webs of sound from gossamer-thin threads.

The soulful, sweet and serene 20 pieces that comprise Images, and concludes the disc, are the earliest works here, dating from 1989. Sanctioned by the composer, Howard’s free sequencing of them is enchanting and not a little intoxicating, lent a bewitching gloss by playing of the utmost delicacy. Composed for Howard, the most recent work, 2019’s 24 Preludes and...

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