Works performed by Earplay:

Freight Train Bruise

Michael Finnissy (b. 1946, London) reports that he began composing as soon as he began piano lessons at the age of four. He supported his advanced music studies by accompanying for dance classes, both classic ballet and jazz, and studied with Bernard Stevens and Humphrey Searle at the Royal College of Music, later Roman Vlad in Italy. He taught in the music department at the London School of Contemporary Dance from 1969-1974. He is a formidable pianist as well as a prolific composer, and also much in demand as a conductor.

He revised many of his dance improvisations to become concert piano pieces. Freightrain Bruise appears in a collection of his piano pieces whose titles attest to his involvement with dance (Mazurka, Two Pasodobles, Kemp's Morris, and three Strauss-Waltzer), and it was one of many pieces written for his dance colleagues — in this case, Charlotte Holtzermann. As might be expected, his music has a highly improvisatory, unpredictable and utterly mind-boggling character. It is technically demanding, yet clearly indicative of his own extraordinary keyboard facility.

— K. R.

[from program for March 22, 2010 concert]