A couple more reviews of this great CD. They're not online so sorry for the cut and paste:
From the current issues of International Record Review
Graham Lynch's website introduces him as a 'classical and tango composer'. The first composer who comes to mind as having hybridized tangos and classical music successfully is Astor Piazzolla, so it is fitting that, among Lynch's projects, is his arrangement of Piazzolla's Cuatro estaciones porteńas for bandoneon and string quintet. Lynch seems less interested in hybridizing the two genres than he is in excelling in both of them, however, and that's all right by me. To cut to the chase, 'Undiscovered Islands', which contains both genres, is one of the best CD débuts I've encountered all year.
Lynch was born in London in 1957. He studied piano from a young age and later played in various rock and jazz-rock bands. His interest in composition took him first to the Bath Spa University College, then to King's College, London and a year at the Royal College of Music. He earned a doctorate in composition. His teachers have included David Lumsdaine, Silvina Milstein and Oliver Knussen. His music has been commissioned by tango groups and classical ensembles, and he has also composed for clavichord or harpsichord.
The works on this disc are divided between those for solo piano (the two White Books, Petenera) and those for flute with (Mediterranean and Three Tangos) or without (Moon Cycle) piano. Perhaps because of his early training, Lynch's piano writing is highly idiomatic.
Apparently he is most inclined toward or comfortable with short works. At 9'00", Mediterranean is by far the longest uninterrupted stretch of music here. The two instalments of White Book contain seven and six pieces respectively; most require no more than four minutes to play.
Brevity is not the same as simplicity, however, and Lynch has a gift for packing entire worlds into a few minutes. His ability to present so much wonder, colour and philosophy into so short a span reminds me of the bejewelled and mysterious piano music of Federico Mompou. The Catalan composer wrote a large body of piano music in an improvisatory style, and this is true of Lynch as well. Mompou was compared with Debussy, following that composer's death, and in Lynch's piano works, which partake of Impressionism, one hears that tradition continuing. Even some of Lynch's titles 'Vanishing Pathways' and'Night Journey to Cordoba', from White Books 1 and 2 respectively) evoke Debussy. Lynch's interest in non-European music and cultures, and in both reality and imagination, serves his music well, demonstrating that tonality has yet to be exhausted. I hope it is not too airy-fairy to write that this is music that, while both rigorous and intelligent, gives its listeners room in which to dream or lose themselves. The Three Tangos (separate works rather than a true cycle) feel less improvisatory than the rest of the music here but maintain their delicate and private moods.
I assume that the performances, recorded 'in the company of the composer', are definitive, although I want other performers to discover this music and to spread it around! Mark Tanner's smooth, dark piano sound still admits many shades of colour and light and lends the music the sensitivity it deserves. Flautist Gillian Poznansky also responds to its melancholy. Her tone is clear and never shrill, and her playing is flexible. The otherwise unsigned booklet note contains'personal notes' from each performer, and does go on, as if the writer thought Lynch's music needed special pleading. It does not. The honest, intimate engineering keeps the two performers in balance and helps draw us in to Lynch's generally quiet but emotionally rich world.
Buy one for a friend and keep another for yourself!
Raymond S. Tuttle
From International Piano
Priory Records is almost exclusively associated in most people’s minds with choral and organ music, so it comes of something of a surprise to encounter a CD from this stable consisting entirely of contemporary piano and chamber music. After just a few seconds, however, Graham Lynch’s music begins to weave its magic spell and all becomes clear. This is no ordinary release but a hypnotic programme of captivatingly inventive music composed over the last decade, representing the culmination of a process of creative refinement going back over 30 years. Over this period Lynch has progressed from a post-Modernist into the creator of miniature dreamworlds, drawing upon a range of Mediterranean influences, alongside fado, tango and flamenco, impressionistically synthesised with a Ravelian sensitivity for sound and timbre.
The 13 pieces that make up the two White Books are poignant soundscapes with such evocative titles as ‘Undiscovered Islands’, ‘Night Garden’, ‘Midsummer Reds’ and ‘The Sadness of the King’, the latter inspired by a cut-out by Matisse. Each one is a series of haunting meditations that tantalise with their combined sense of exquisite spontaneity and meticulous refinement. The four pieces that make up Petenera were inspired by poems by Federico Garcia Lorca, and are played by Mark Tanner with a bewitching sensitivity for colour and atmosphere. The sense of stillness Tanner conjures up in the last of the pieces, ‘De Profundis’, creates a profound impression of timelessness. Mediterranean and Three Tangos (both for flute and piano), and the solo flute Moon Cycle, all mesmerizingly played by Gillian Poznansky, round out a recital of cherishable pieces that confirm Lynch as one of the modern masters of the musical miniature.