Saturday, 13 December 2014

William Blezard: Suite Circle of Time for piano

The Suite Circle of Time (1975) is a meditation on the progress of the seasons. It is strange in that there are five sections – and there are only four seasons! The secret is the reprise of the New Year Carillon at the works conclusion. The Carillon opens the suite with its brittle, frosty bell figuration. It is definitely winter time-and a cold one at that. I remember walking along the Thames near Barnes one January morning and the frost had hit the riverside vegetation during the night. It was like fairyland. I wonder if Blezard had enjoyed a similar walk from his nearby home? The movement dedicated to spring is quicksilver – all over in 59 seconds. Yet a lot is said and the imagery of ‘small creatures that scuttle about’ is well described. Summer Haze is a perfect little tone picture. Once again I wonder if it is based on his home territory. Perhaps it is somewhere in Richmond Park when he would have heard ‘all the live murmur of a summer’s day.’ It is truly the heart of this delicious suite. Autumn Contrasts literally does that. The composer contrasts ‘vivace semiquaver triplets’ with much softer more introverted material. Autumn is often a sad time of year. With leaves blowing in the wind, the trees becoming bare and the days ‘drawing in.’ Fires burn and leaves are consumed. And finally winter returns – the New Year bells ring out the old and ring in the new. It ends with a perfect hush. This work for me is possibly the most moving of the Blezard opus that I have so far heard.
Circle of Time is available on Priory Records (PRCD 617) played by Eric Parkin. However, I believe that it has been deleted from the catalogues and is only available second hand. 

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