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There may be little fanfare surrounding the centenary of Center (1913-73), a self-effacing Scottish composer, teacher and choral conductor, but his music deserves more attention than his modest reputation suggests.

This anthology gives a useful impression of his style and quality. The four-movement Piano Sonata is succinctly expressive.

Six Bagatelles combines spikiness and haunting beauty. The idiom – gritty, lyrical, unmistakably European – is very much Center’s own, an impression confirmed by Guild’s equally sympathetic performances of 10 shorter pieces. What we need now is a CD of Center’s choral and symphonic works.

Ronald Center

Music for solo piano

Christopher Guild

(Toccata Classics)

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