Musical Opinion

Eric Craven is an English composer who has had a distinguished teaching career. His music is not annotated in the traditional manner: the technique he employs is probably derived from Cornelius Cardew, being almost wholly aleotoric. In these Sonatas the composer relies on Mary Dullea’s re-creative ability from rows of notes and clusters which, on single lines, serve as the score of his piece.

A recording of these realisations may beg questions: as the music is different on each occasion it is performed (the skeleton of Craven’s ideas remaining pretty constant), why make a recording ‘freezing’ the music for all time? Hers is just one realisation of Craven’s ideas: there could be as many as there are pianists who play it, as in jazz or other extemporisations on ‘given’ themes. The Eighth Sonata lasts over 40 minutes in Ms Dullea’s realisation, demonstrating her own evolved creative reaction to Craven’s ideas. The result is intriguing.

—Robert Matthew-Walker