This expansive miniature was written in 1981 and was my response to the emotional impact of listening to the Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th Symphony, hence my dedication: with apologies to Gustav. Indeed, the main melody of my piece follows the melodic line of Mahler’s, but takes off in a different direction and ‘gradually metamorphoses into a lighter style reminiscent of a jazz improvisation…..as though we move from the philharmonic hall in Central Europe to a Manhattan jazz club around 2am, when everything is subdued and transient’ (McLachlan).
Although written many years ago, the piece is a rather personal creative utterance and remained unpublished until I started discussing the repertoire for a new recording of my music for solo piano in 2020. It then emerged as a suitable piece to include for that purpose, and it is now being published for the first time.
Friday a.m. has been recorded by Murray McLachlan on the album Edward Gregson: Complete Music for Solo Piano (Naxos 8.574222).
Download Programme Note
… he so subtly integrates a more jazz-inspired piano texture, and harmonic palette. It’s just another highlight on the CD, which, particularly if you’re a pianist, you’ll really want to get your hands on.
Philip R Buttall, MusicWeb International, October 2020
… a stirringly expansive six-and-a-half minute outpouring that was inspired by the slow movement of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, and which ends up sounding as though the great Gustav had just bumped into Dudley Moore in a 1990s New York jazz club.
Murray McLachlan, International Piano, October 2020
Friday a.m. … is an intriguing little piece. It derives from the central Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and Mahlerian reminiscences permeate the piece. But grafted onto Mahler are thoughts of what the composer refers to as “a Manhattan jazz club around 2 am when everything is subdued and transient”. There were occasions too when the music suggested to me that Sergei Rachmaninov had drifted into the jazz club and seated himself at the piano for some melancholy improvisation.
John Quinn, MusicWeb International, March 2021