A Pianist's I Ching (PFCD150/151/152) 3-CD set £17/£22
Composed and performed by Geoffrey Poole
ZONE 1 Zhen GREEN SHOOTS
ZONE 2 Kun GOLDEN EGGS
ZONE 3 Gen PURPLE MOUNTAINS
ZONE 4 Li CRIMSON FLAMES
ZONE 5 Xun SCARLET VALLEYS
ZONE 6 Kan BLACK WAVES
ZONE 7 Qian INDIGO SKIES
ZONE 8 Dui SILVER LAGOONS
"This remarkable three-disc set... the stylistic range is enormous... you can dip in anywhere and expect to snatch delight". Paul Driver, Sunday Times, 11/04/2021
"Geoffrey Poole is... a master of pictorial music... There are 64 miniatures in all. You will often be surprised, sometimes amazed, but I am sure you will never be bored." Alan Cooper, British Music Society
The I Ching (the ancient Chinese ‘Classic of Changes’) is both an oracle and a philosophical treatise in which every situation is regarded as a further stepping stone in our developing consciousness. Change (Transformation through Time), is of course the essential condition of Music, but by composing a short character-piece to each one of the I Ching’s 64 states of being, Poole has pressed his imagination into concepts and feelings unfamiliar to Western minds and ears. In many of these pieces the musical language is readily approachable, yet the outcome can be surprising. Such is the nature of Change.
The title 'A Pianist’s I Ching' merits comment. Geoffrey Poole is many things; a dedicated teacher, a retired Professor, an environmentalist, a Grandpa – but a Pianist? Not in the sense of an academy-trained performer, even though he did acquire an LRAM back in the days when external applicants could sit the exam. But yes, in the sense that he has played piano from year dot. He could play all the Beethoven Sonatas when he was fifteen; in fact, he did so in one weekend in September 1964, and analysed all 96 movements too. He is a pianist in the sense of knowing what all the notes are in whatever he hears, where and how they would be played on the keyboard, how to evoke magical textures; his musicality is inherently pianistic. So, while several of the tracks on this disc were premiered at the Purcell Room by outstanding young pianists (they are recognised in the composer’s dedications, listed in the sleeve booklet) – and by Geoff’s own reckoning they performed much more brilliantly than he does – this disc closes the interpretation gap between text and execution; it establishes what the score was designed to achieve.
In the opinion of critic and author Stephen Johnson, “Humour and hushed awe, lyrical poetry and spiky playfulness, romantic yearning and teasing irony – the range is immense, conveyed through a chain of endlessly inventive miniatures, beautifully conceived for the piano, and beautifully played by the composer himself.”
Recorded and produced by Steve Plews
Assistant Producer Jean Hasse
Edited and mastered by Phil Hardman
Sleeve Design by Steve Plews
Prima Facie is grateful for financial support from the Ida Carroll Trust.
Geoffrey Poole – piano
You can read Geoffrey Poole's sleeve notes from this CD set on the Prima Facie blog.
English contemporary composer, pianist, accompanist, conductor and educator.
His well regarded academic career (1975-2009) was infused by spells in Nairobi (1985-1987), Princeton (Visiting Fellow in Composition 1997-1998), and Seoul (2008).
Geoff has retired from his professorship at Bristol University and is busy as freelance composer, and contemporary / classical pianist.