English composer Peter Dickinson has enjoyed a long musical career as a composer, teacher and performer. This CD collects 12 of his piano works, written over a period of 47 years, in recordings that originated on a number of different labels, recorded over a period of 35 years. For the record, the works, their compositional dates, and the recording dates are as follows:
a. Wild Rose Rag (1985, recorded Dec. 1985)
b. Blue Rose (1979, recorded Dec. 1985)
c. Paraphrase II (1967, recorded Nov. 1975)
d. Concerto Rag (1980, recorded Oct. 1999)
e. Quartet Rag (1976, recorded Dec. 1985)
f. Vitalitas Variations (1957, recorded June 2010)
g. Three Satie Transformations (based on 'Gnossiennes', 1970; recorded Oct. 1999)
h. Bach in Blue (2004, recorded Nov. 2004)
i. Hymn-Tune Rag (1985, recorded Oct. 1999)
j. Patriotic Rag (1986, recorded Oct. 1999)
k. Four Piano Blues (1973, recorded Dec. 1985)
l. Five Diversions (1963, recorded Nov. 2004)
Dickinson writes in a generally accessible idiom, readily incorporating jazz and popular elements, as the titles of many of the pieces indicate, with the use of "Rag" or "Blue"/"Blues". Even the more serious works like "Paraphrase II" and "Vitalis Variations" retain a fundamentally tonal language without being pandering.
Dickinson gives generally fine performances over the years, bringing obvious authority to the proceedings, and also providing the liner notes as well for this compilation. Sometimes there seems to be a slightly 'pingy' tone on the piano, but not enough to mar enjoyment. If you're interested in Peter Dickinson's music, this makes for a good introduction, and a generous one, with nearly 80 minutes of music packed into this CD.