msvcd 92030
cd image


IAN PACE (piano)

Leading composer Michael Finnissy started by improvising Gershwin songs as recital encores - then developed them into formal pieces in order to explore an era in which jazz and modernism both evolved in response to social change...... he wrote two groups of arrangements, both here in their only complete recording.

CD DURATION:  76:07 

AUDIO SAMPLE: Embraceable you (extract)  






How long has this been going on?
Things are looking up
A foggy day in London Town
Love is here to stay
They can't take that away from me
Shall we dance?
They're writing songs of love but not for me
Fidgety Feet
Embraceable You
Waiting for the sun to come out
Innocent ingenue baby
Blah, blah, blah
Boy wanted
Love is here to stay (original version)
Limehouse Nights
Wait a bit, Susie
I'd rather Charleston
Isn't it wonderful
Nobody but you
Dixie Rose
Someone belives in you
Nashville Nightingale

review extracts: for full reviews click here
“This disc deserves a place on the shelves of every serious collector. These two cycles of Gershwin arrangements contain some of Finnissy's best and most thought-provoking music played by one of his greatest advocates. The emotions in Finnissy's arrangements are often as complex as the music is intricate, at one moment poignant, disturbing at the next, but always utterly compelling. Strongly recommended.” – BBC Music Magazine TOP RECOMMENDATIONS August 2000
“The exercise is not only valid but musically stimulating. Pace is clearly so conversant with this music as to be a constituent part of it, while the deliberately dated piano sound and recording style is perfectly suited to this strange yet compelling music. This disc is unique and remarkable.” - Roger Thomas (International Record Review)
“As an arranger Finnissy is radical - as we should know from his own music. So the stage is set on this CD for something special. Everything is beautifully played too.” - Music and Vision
”Ian Pace proves to be a heroic interpreter of Finnissy's Gershwin transcriptions - a tough, sometimes baffling listen, but an extraordinary achievement.” – The Wire
“These versions are useful concert items at the very least. But they have other dimensions, musical and sociological, as Pace's booklet essay explains. Using a Fazioli piano to re-create an "old-fashioned" sound, he plays them thoughtfully and beautifully.” - Paul Driver (The Sunday Times)
“By turns virtuosic and contemplative, they are given an incandescent performance by Ian Pace. The song tunes drift hazily in and out of the music. Layers of melody, voluptuous harmony, and intellectually challenging counterpoint entrap the listener into a wholly original and exciting sound world, nevertheless remarkably approachable for a late 20th century composition. The piano recording is delectable. This wonderful disc has already become a firm favourite in my catalogue. Finnissy is a national treasure; lets have lots more, please.” - Dr Brian Hardin (Classical London)
“It's impossible to do justice to the range of this remarkable music in a short review. Ian Pace has forthright views on these pieces and is an ideally characterful interpreter.” – Classic CD
” Michael Finnissy has restored the art of the piano transcription, and his versions of Gershwin standards have become the most frequently performed of all his voluminous piano output. Ian Pace's playing is faithful and technically exemplary” - The Guardian
“Fascinating, and certainly among Finnissy's most individual and enduring creations.” – Records International

“Finnissy's renderings often come across as kaleidoscopic, as though the songs were being viewed through varying forms of prism. It's a startling effect, because at no point does the musical material sound remotely unclear: indeed, this is arguably some of Finnissy's most transparent, crystalline music. These are magical moments. Due both to their inspiration and conciseness, as well as Finnissy's treatment, these are hugely accessible pieces.” – Simon Cummings (5against4)