Jon Lord (1941-2012, English)

My only exposure to the music of Jon Lord so far is his small piece for string quartet, Zarabanda Solitaria, played by The Smith Quartet on their “Dance” CD published by Signum Classics. The recital is a mixture of short pieces by thirteen different composers, with some fine ones, some good ones and some that I don’t too much care about, but Lord’s piece is the worst. It’s a ridicuous piece musically, mawkishly sentimental and facile, but the worst is that it comes with an underlying program which is a collection of clichés: “In an abandoned ballroom in a small town somewhere in the heart of Spain [do I read three clichés here already?], a lone man, far advanced in years, but still proud of bearing [well of course – he’ Spanish, ain’t he? An ex-Toreador, no doubt], walks slowly onto the dusty dance floor. He stands for a while, gazing into his past [oh, no, sorry, a former Tango dancer. It certainly explains the “proud bearing” – that was before the lung cancer], then, with only a slight hesitation, he begins to dance…”). And it’s not because Jon Lord is the only composer among those featured on that CD who’s dead that I’m sneering, it’s because he is the only one to have written such a corny program for such corny music.

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