Piggott Piano Works
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.