The focus of the first disc devoted to Morgan Hayes's music is a fine performance with Keisuke Okazaki as soloist of his 2006 Violin Concerto. It's the longest single span of music (at 17 minutes) the 38-year-old former pupil of Michael Finnissy and Simon Bainbridge has composed so far. Its starting point was a passage from Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, in which the character Lucky suddenly erupts into speech for the first time, and there is a sense in which the solo violin sometimes seems to be lecturing the ensemble, which is doing all it can to cut him short. Even without the literary subtext, though, the Concerto is a beautifully wrought piece, with long, expressive lines punctuated by fierce collisions, and underpinned with a clear tonal scheme. Clear, undogmatic musical thinking is also a feature of the other pieces, including the set of piano miniatures, Strides; the 2003 ensemble piece, Port Rhombus, based on a track by Squarepusher, and even the denser textures of the early mini piano concerto, Slippage.
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