This release is the kind of thing dyed-in-the-wool collectors live for: a large body of sophisticated work by a virtually unknown composer with a strong, personal voice, played with understanding and finesse. 

An album cover shows a realistic illustrated gumtree.

Geoffrey Allen (1927-2021) was born in England but settled in Perth from 1952 and became a champion of contemporary Australian music through his recording and administrative work. At the same time he composed – Divine Art has already released a disc of his music for winds – but the piano was clearly Allen’s instrument.

After an early false start, he embarked on a series of Piano Sonatas between 1989 and 2021: 17 in all, plus one entitled Rhapzonata (2003). Only No. 4 has received a previous recording. Here they are played superbly by the Scottish pianist Murray McLachlan, who specialises in bringing great neglected music to light. 

With 18 substantial works over five CDs, I cannot go into specifics. Overall, Allen’s style treats English influences (the composer cites Vaughan Williams and Delius) on a kind of slippery harmonic basis using unpredictable, chromatic...