Blake / Gray - Afrikosmos | RECORD STORE DAY

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Blake / Gray - Afrikosmos
Artist: Blake / Gray
Format: CD


Rel. Date: 04/14/2023
UPC: 809730137426

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Inspired by Bartók's 'Mikrokosmos' and by the indigenous music from various parts of Africa, South African composer Michael Blake created this magnum opus - like Bartok's work, in varying degrees of difficulty for young players and experts alike. The recording was made in June 2021 at the Menuhin Hall, Cobham, Surrey by pianist Antony Gray, whose recent Divine Art albums of piano works by Saint-Saëns have met with great success and glowing reviews. The idea of writing an African response to Bartók's Mikrokosmos has a long genesis, first approached in 2003 with a piece for young players called "iKos'tina". The African response follows a similar format to Bartók's, with six volumes, each one roughly following a similar format focusing on rhythm and texture, character pieces, dances, pieces exploring a mode or scale, folksong arrangements and variations, transcriptions and homages. The African response aims to represent a broad picture of African music and the composer's heritage. Most pieces are written in a neo-African style, reflecting the composer's own compositional aesthetic, which has drawn on African musical material and aesthetics. The pieces use African five and six note scales, harmonies based on the overtone series, polyrhythm, interlocking, cyclic form, etc. Some pieces are cutups or collages of existing music, some use graphic notation, and some require the pianist to whistle or click their fingers as percussive accompaniment.