DAVE SMITH: PIANO MUSIC played by Sarah Walker TG 004

MAXIXE  F# minor, dedicated to Dika Rancigaj. Completed 21/10/85    2.47

DUB  B minor, dedicated to Richard Ascough. Completed 26/10/85.    3.03

BOSSA NOVA  Gb major, dedicated to Howard Skempton. Completed 1/8/85.    3.01

AFTERHOURS  C# minor, dedicated to Gavin Bryars. Completed 5/8/85.    4.57

DISCO SOLEIL BRILLANT  dedicated to John Lewis. Completed 7/10/90.    10.03

NUMBER SEVEN'S DONE A RUNNER  dedicated to Sarah Walker. Completed 2/4/00.    9.37

AL CONTRARIO  dedicated to Christopher Hobbs. Completed 12/1/92.    34.23

I first came across the music of Dave Smith back in 1989, while studying for a doctorate concerning the English Experimental tradition. Twenty years on, his music is still a source of fascination. It's chock-full of references, but still has that elusive quality that makes you wonder "how does he do it?" and "where does it come from?" The raw material provides only half the answer - the rest is that X factor, which perhaps has something to do with a brilliant ear, a wide-ranging imagination and an instinctive feel for structure (so that one phrase follows the next with total rightness yet unpredictability, and at the end of the piece the listener has an indisputable sense of closure). In other words, Dave has the keenest artistic instincts, and that would probably ensure the quality of his compositions even before we throw all those other things into the mix - his experiences as a member of the Scratch Orchestra, as part of the flourishing community of English Experimental composers, his encyclopedic musical enthusiasms and his pianistic bravura. His pieces can be enjoyed on so many levels - there's enough here to keep a connoisseur-detective occupied for hours, while the huge appeal of the music could stop the most casual listener in their tracks. The selection on this CD is just the tip of a richly prolific iceberg. I hope it will encourage further exploration into the music of Dave Smith.

Sarah Walker