Music For Piano Volume 6
Volume six in this series has one especially important collection, Night Songs of the Bards – Six Nocturnes and a series of engaging though lesser works that still repay listening. Written between 1944 and 1951 Night Songs of the Bards embraces a wide range of rhythmic, textual and colouristic influences - Raga, Szymanowski and Sorabji among them.
Murray McLachlan, as ever, is the conduit through which Chisholm’s music flows. His technical armoury and ear for colour are both impeccable and he brings these pieces to life with tremendous intensity and panache, or – when necessary, as in the children’s pieces – unpretentious simplicity. With a good recording and booklet notes, those who have been following this series will eagerly wish to acquaint themselves with this release. Start with those Nocturnes. Read the whole review here. - Jonathan Woolf
Midwest Record (re diversions ddv24149) August 2010
"The piano great McLachlan strays from his romance with Russian piano masters to tackle the sounds of other spaces in checking out this collection of miniatures from a contemporary, classical composer. Mostly broken into 5 suites, this is almost moldy fig music that gets saved from that fate once McLachlan kicks it into gear. One of our great musical sherpas, McLachlan is always worth checking out once he gets a new journey going." - Chris Spector
The contents of Volume 6 (Divine Art ddv24149, 1 hour 18 minutes), contains two of what appear to me to be among Chisholm’s finest achievements ¬ vastly different though they be. These are the Six Bards, a group of six Nocturnes, the quality of which has caused me to question whether any comparable set by a British composer constitutes their equal ¬ certainly not their superior. This is music of quite outstanding quality as music and not as a kind of pleasant travelogue north of the Border, and the other achievement is the set of pieces that prefaces the Nocturnes ¬ ‘The Book of Wisdom’ ¬ made up of tiny children’s pieces, written for children to play (perhaps at a school concert, or to their family) and with fabulous titles: ‘He comes in with his 5 eggs and 4 of them rotten’; ‘Let him that’s culd blow out the cole (sic)’ ¬ this is utterly delightful stuff, yet the musicianship behind the composition of these tiny miniatures is such as to enter the child-pianist’s sub-consciousness and plant seeds which virtually no other music since Schumann’s Album for the Young, Bartók’s For Children and Shostakovich’s Op. 69 Children’s Pieces have done with such quality.
There is no doubt that Murray McLachlan’s enterprise is deserving of the highest praise. - International Record Review Jan 2011