Piggott Piano Works

This Briton’s music, hiding unexpected depths, is worth investigating

Author: 
Stephen Plaistow

Piggott Piano Works

  • Sonata for Piano No 1, 'Fantasia quasi una Sonata'
  • (8) Preludes and a Postlude
  • Sonata for Piano No 2

It couldn’t be claimed that Patrick Piggott (1915-90) was a composer with a strong urge to innovate: he cultivated a fairly small patch and, from what I know of him, was content to till the ground left fertile by the post-Romantic piano composers, particularly the Russians, that he was so good at playing. I doubt his language changed essentially from one end of his career to the other, but there are many valued composers of whom that can be said. He was his own man and, on the evidence here, the language enriched itself; anyone inclined to second-guess these pieces as the occasional indulgences of a once-admired English pianist (1915-90) should certainly give the CD a closer look.

I think Piggott must have liked Medtner and Rachmaninov, and his three sets of pianistically-demanding Preludes – 24 pieces in all – suggest admiration for Rachmaninov’s example above all. I catch a glimpse of Scriabin, too, and maybe of Szymanowski; Ravel and Debussy certainly put in appearances.

There is craft and invention to be enjoyed, and in the sonatas an impressive control of large shapes and long-range musical thinking as well as of the surface detail. Swirling textures abound, but with point; you can’t fail to be struck by the expression of something deep within the man. There is energy, and dance as well as song, but his forthright manner (at the close of the Second Sonata, for instance) is perhaps less convincing than the rest.

Malcolm Binns’s lyrical freshness and technical brilliance – the flair of his performances, too – make an excellent case for the composer. A well made CD, with good sound and an attractive, readable booklet.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018