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Mass of the Apocalypse
Lullaby: Duke Dobing (flute), Peter Dickinson (piano) | Mass: Revd Donald Reeves (speaker), Jo Maggs (soprano), Meriel Dickinson (mezzo soprano), St James’s Singers, James Holland, David Johnson (percussion), John Alley (piano), Ivor Bolton (conductor) | Larkin’s Jazz: Henry Herford (baritone-speaker), The Nash Ensemble, Lionel Friend (conductor) | Five Forgeries: Peter Dickinson, John Flinders (piano) | Air, Metamorphosis: Duke Dobing (flute)
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Dickinson is versatile figure: pianist, writer and composer. This selection of (mostly) premiere recordings ranges from a piano piece written under exam conditions in 1955 through to Larkin’s Jazz, from 1989, and embraces his unusual Mass of the Apocalypse, for chorus, soloists, speaker, two percussionists and piano; Five Forgeries, for piano duet (himself with John Flinders); and flute pieces (Duke Dobing). In Larkin’s Jazz, four poems with musical references are spoken against quiet backgrounds by a baritone who elsewhere sings wordlessly. Each poem is surrounded by a prelude and commentary, a cyclic structure bizarrely recalling Pierre Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître. The effect is powerful and smokily atmospheric. [THREE STARS]
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 12/13/2009

...especially welcome as a telling cross-section of the composer's distinctive voice, his exuberant originality and willingness to challange convention.
Malcolm Miller, Tempo, 1/1/2010

Using the Apocalypse story from the Book of Revelation as an allegory for contemporary concerns, Dickinson contrasts formal compositional procedures - like the harmonic cycle underpinning the "Kyrie" - with stylistic lurches towards the blues and, in the "Kyrie", overlaid strata of (presumably) uncoordinated choral speaking - a neat way of expressing early '80s angst about the state we were in. I was also reminded of Tippett's granite lyricism in the flute and piano Lullaby, the most intriguing of the accompanying miniatures.
Philip Clark, Gramophone Magazine, 6/1/2010

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