Musical Opinion

The prolific output of the Maltese-born composer Charles Camilleri has gone through a number of phases, as explained in Murray McLachlan’s booklet notes, and this new CD is made up of music from the composer’s recent, more spiritual, period; that is from the late 1970s to the present day.

Throughout Camilleri’s varied career there have been some impressive works appear alongside others which are less so and I cannot say, in all honesty, that every piece on this album is of the same musical standard.

However, there is more than enough genuinely original music here to make this CD well worth acquiring, particularly the Astralis Suite and the delightful little set of variations on Paganini’s famous 24 th Caprice for Piano Duet, with which the album opens. The three Cosmologies I found less interesting, being cast in Camilleri’s manic-depressive creative mood while incidentally the printed duration of the third is understated on the booklet by about half-a-minute. The haunting suite, Celestial Harmonies , could almost pass for a piece of thoughtful New-Agery, and is probably the most successful work here. Chemins makes excellent sense of a tone-row across its five movements, although it does not wholly avoid impressions of deja-vu and compositional unease. The more well-known Noospheres bring this collection to an exciting and thoughtful conclusion.

Murray McLachlan’s performances are excellent throughout. In all of his work for piano Camilleri writes with genuine understanding of the keyboard. This is real piano music, not merely a few ideas idly strung together without much sense of direction. The recording is excellent, capturing the piano with full, rich tone and placing the instrument ideally within the acoustic.

—Robert Matthew-Walker