Denis Dufour - Avalanche [Kairos Music - 2022]
Avalanche is nineteen-part work for solo piano celebrating as its title suggests all things snowbound. It’s a darting, at times manic and detailed composition, which has brief moments of lull 'n' sooth- but largely the just under hour work is a very spiritly and shifting affair.
The CD album appears on Austria’s Kairos Music- it comes presented in their house-style four-panel digipak, which features a stuck-on inlay booklet. Cover wise we have a fitting white and blue colour wash-like painting which of course ties into the snow theme of the work. The glossy inlay booklet runs at fifty-five pages- it features a mixture of English and German text about the composer/the work, and photographs of you guessed it snow.Roger Batty
Denis Dufour is a Lyon France-based composer- who has been active since the 1980s and is known for both electronic and formal instrumental ensemble works. This work dates from 1991. And played by François-Michel Rignol- who masterfully presents this at times rather manically darting work.
The nineteen tracks run between one and seven-minute mark. With english subtitles like “Powdery, falling snow”, “Snow Flurry” and “Icy Snow Blowing In The Wind”. The work moves from cascading rapid bounds and darts, onto mixes of climbing and descending runs. Through to sprightly darts and weaves, onto spirited flourishes and sunlight-on-white Jiggs. As mentioned in my introduction we do get the very occasional shift into calmer, more mellow waters- but these never last long and we return to the fleeting and darting urgency again.
I’ve now played through the whole of Avalanche eight or nine times, and I still find surprise and wonder if the shifts in the composition, and Rignol plays the material with such great flare and clarity.