Evgeny Ukhanov: Introspection; Performs Griffths (griffithscomposer.com)

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Reverie III
Evgeny Ukhanov: Introspection; Performs Griffths (griffithscomposer.com)

When Malawi-born, Christchurch-raised and now Melbourne-based composer Alan Griffiths approached Elsewhere to see if we were interested in reviewing an album of his solo piano works entitled Introspection we were curious.

The title suggested ambient music of the kind we have a soft spot for . . . but the title is deceptive.

Here among the nine Griffiths pieces played by Evgeny Ukhanov are certainly passages of gentle reflection, but equally as in the opener Reverie II there are broad and swelling romantic flourishes, influences from Bach (2/3 Fugue), muscular sections which bring to mind Rachmaninov and 19th century European composers, and even influences from outside the classical tradition (most evident on the appropriately entitled A Touch of Tango where Ukhanov really skitters across the keys).

The delicate 3 Meditations – which like much ambient piano music exists in a place of deliberately little resolution – is when this most approaches the allusion of the album title.

So an album with more of its heart in the history of classical music than the title might suggest, and – given just how many ambient albums are out there these days – the better for it.

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