Michael E. Karman | Portland, OR USA | 02/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not a person who has favorites. There is too much lovely music by too many different composers for that, but when years ago I discovered an l.p. of these pieces, I discovered that I had a favorite piano concerto. This is after years of listening to Bartok and Prokofiev and Shostakovitch and Lutoslawski and so on, by the way. If you like any of them, you'll probably like this, too. Dickinson' piano concerto moves with a slow and majestic inexorability through time, no matter how many notes occur per second, and some seconds have dozens. You would almost think in some places that you're listening to a Nancarrow piano roll. But it is not a piece of one idea, or of a single motion. It builds to one excruciating climax after the other, each collapsing into eery silences broken only by furtive little night noises.The chief delight, for me, is Dickinson's melange approach to composing. He throws everything in, ferocious dissonance, ragtime riffs, random blats that will remind you of Webern, if not Christian Wolff. Whatever you can think of, it will be in this concerto, often synchronous with three or four other incongruous things, the more incongruous the better. Yet, it all sounds like just one thing, this piano concerto. It's a thrilling piece. At least I think so. And I am thrilled by both Bach's St. Matthew Passion AND Merzbow's 1930. I hope Dickinson will be someday as well known and as well recorded as Gerhard and Rawsthorne. His is certainly an original voice."