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Pianist Clare Hammond - works by Edmund Finnis - CD Review, February 2nd, 2024

On February 2nd 2024, the Youth album was officially released by the Pentatone music label. The album is dedicated by pianist Clare Hammond to Edmund Finnis' music, contemporary British composer, 40 years of age, whose music scores were played by well-known artists such as violoncellist Sheku Kanneh Mason or pianist Vikingur Olafsson, as well as by ensembles such as Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, Royal liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Edmund Finnis is a composer and professor at the Royal Academy of Music; in the past, he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was colleagues with Clare Hammond, and when he started building for this project - the Youth recording is a set of 10 short pieces, rich in sounds, feelings and intense colors.

This is the first album which presents music for solo piano by Edmund Finnis. The composer says: "Ever since I was a child, the piano keyboard has always been a personal space for me where I could think, compose and dream. Many of the sounds and ideas transposed in this collection have been on my mind and fingers for a long time. I am grateful to my friend, pianist Clare Hammond for the majestic, gracious and lucid nuances she grants this personal music style." The Lullaby for Emmeline is on this album, commissioned by Clare Hammond and her husband, on the occasion of the birth of their daughter; it is a composition inspired by childhood experiences - magical, ethereal, full of fantasy. Pianist Clare Hammond testifies about Edmund Finnis' work: "It is relatively plain music, but it seems to reach the listeners' heart rather quickly. Splendid, evocative, emotional, it stays in your soul a long time after it's over."

So far Clare Hammond collaborated with the majority of well-known British orchestras, as well as with other European ensembles, and showing a wide repertoire, centered on contemporary creation. She premiered over 50 works along with some of the contemporary composers she collaborated with, such as: Arlene Sierra, Robert Saxton, Graham Fitkin and Michael Berkeley.

Larisa Clempuș