Danny Driver

Piano

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Schumann: Novelletten & Nachtstücke

Schumann: Novelletten & Nachtstücke


Schumann:

Novelletten (8), Op. 21

Nachtstücke, Op. 23

Romance in F sharp major, Op. 28 No. 2


Danny Driver (piano)

In this new album Danny Driver brings his impeccable pianism, consummate style and imagination to Schumann’s Novelletten and Nachtstücke, less well-known sets from his extraordinary output for the piano.

Schumann wrote Nachtstücke, a set of four character pieces, upon the death of his brother, and would have entitled it ‘Corpse Fantasia’ were it not for Clara’s intervention. The eight pieces of the Novelletten form what is at once the largest and the least known among Schumann’s major piano cycles. The music itself is of consistently high quality (years later, Schumann himself still regarded this among his most successful works), and clearly written in an exultant mood.

“Driver is commanding and personable. He never fails to establish character and to provide the understanding and flair of a virtuoso in leading us on, in getting from one thing to another. The only qualities I miss are a measure of ease with the continuity and greater differentiation in the sound and movement.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“[Driver], who is going from strength to strength at the moment, turns in a powerhouse performance on his new Schumann album, playing with great technical prowess, and admirably alert to the fluctuations of mood and feeling within the prevailing intensity of the whole.” The Guardian, 13th November 2014 ****

“there is an unbroken thread of thought running through Driver’s interpretation, with the fluxes of harmony and nuances of dynamics artlessly etched in and a natural flow and impetus to the music from the very start to its hushed finish...This is playing of a most perceptive order.” The Telegraph, 24th November 2014

“Driver proves at once with the first Novellette that he is alive to the composer's robust, macho side and its inverse, those luminescent and melting atmospheres...This is, in short, engaging and sophisticated playing with a fine mix of care and spontaneity.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Driver shows his mettle in offering the full sets of both pieces, with much poetry and no unwanted exaggeration.” Financial Times, 18th January 2015

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Handel: The Eight Great Suites

Handel: The Eight Great Suites


Handel:

Harpsichord Suites Nos. 1-5 HV 426-430

Harpsichord Suites Nos. 6-8 HV 431-433

Suite in C minor, HWV 444

Keyboard Suite, HWV 438 in E minor

Keyboard Suite, HWV 435 (Chaconne) in G major


Danny Driver (piano)

Danny Driver’s recordings of CPE Bach’s keyboard works have been much admired: praised by critics as deeply stylish and revelatory accounts of eighteenth-century works on a modern piano, with Driver’s impeccable pianism constantly present. Now he turns to Handel’s ‘Eight Great Suites’, largely written when the composer was resident in Cannons, near London.

The ‘Great Suites’ are an inspired, idiosyncratic amalgam of Gallic courtly dances, Italian vocal lyricism, Teutonic counterpoint and robust English tunefulness. Whereas Bach’s keyboard suites follow broadly similar patterns, centred on the traditional French dance sequence of Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue, Handel’s are unpredictable, with no two suites alike in the number and ordering of their movements. There are fugues, arias with variations, Italian-style sonata movements, even (in No 7) a Passacaglia. Compared with the elaborate finish of Bach’s suites, Handel’s often give the impression of written-down improvisations. In the fantasia-like Preludes, especially, Handel hints at his own genius as extemporiser, while leaving plenty to the performer’s own imagination.

“If you want to hear these pieces played on a sleek grand piano using an engagingly post-historical approach, with flawlessly stylish ornamentation...and a variety of dynamic nuances...then look no further.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2014

“Driver uses a modern piano, and he does so with a potent mix of discretion and vitality. The suites are full of surprises...Driver brings to it all a winning sense of style, crisply ornamented, sensitively drawing on the piano’s tonal potential for shadings of colour and alert to the rhythmic energy that Handel can generate.” The Telegraph, 15th May 2014 *****

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Instrumental

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CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2

CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2


Bach, C P E:

Keyboard Sonata in F sharp minor, Wq. 52/4 (H37)

Keyboard Sonata in C minor, Wq. 65/31 (H121)

Sonata in A major, Wq. 65/32 (H135)

Free Fantasia, for keyboard in F sharp minor, H300/Wq67

Rondo in D minor, Wq. 61/4 (H290)


Danny Driver (piano)

Hyperion presents a second volume of CPE Bach’s startlingly original and inventive keyboard sonatas. This release spans the composer’s career, taking the listener from the highly expressive manner of his early works to his mastery of the Classical style—in which he still retains the distinctive characteristics, the fantastical changes of mood and tempo which both astounded and perplexed his contemporaries.

Danny Driver proves a peerless guide to this fascinating music, performing with elegance and vigour.

“Driver revels in Emanuel's idiosyncrasies, underlining the spontaneous and edgier qualities in the composer's Empfindsamer stil (sensitive style).” BBC Music Magazine, January 2013 ****

“Danny Driver is intimately in touch with the fluctuations of the musical language....His feel for the harmonic explorations in the slow movement [of the E major Sonata] and the rhythmic mischievousness of the finale likewise echoes the music’s spirit...Driver plays with an imagination and subtlety fully equal to Bach’s own.” The Telegraph, 2nd November 2012 *****

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Erik Chisholm: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Erik Chisholm: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Chisholm, E:

Piano Concerto No. 1 'Pìobaireachd'

Piano Concerto No. 2 'Hindustani'


Who was Erik Chisholm? A fascinating musical polymath: composer, conductor and performer, and collector of folk music from his native Scotland. Born in Glasgow in 1904, his attitude to music was progressive, looking towards central European modernism (he was dubbed ‘MacBartók’). Chisholm’s understanding and mastery of the piano—he performed the Scottish premieres of Rachmaninov’s Third and Bartók’s First Concertos—is evident in his two concertos. The first, ‘Pìobaireachd’, literally ‘pipe music’—that of the classical Highland bagpipes—uses these sinuous traditional themes to thrilling effect in a work that’s both exotic and lyrical; the ‘Hindustani’ concerto was inspired by Chisholm’s posting to the Far East during the Second World War and friendship with Sorabji, and is based upon a series of ragas.

Hyperion rising star Danny Driver is the scintillating soloist alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Rory Macdonald in these captivatingly original works.

“[Chisholm's First Concerto is] full of provocative rhythm and utterly devoid of cliche. His second is even more elaborate, drawing its inspiration from the beguiling ragas of Hindustan, their evocative intervals and sensuous, twisting melodies handled beautifully here by Danny Driver in this premiere recording.” The Observer, 4th March 2012

“Chisholm's modernist music is as extraordinary and perplexing as it is beautiful...[he] emerges as a composer in full command of both the orchestra and the piano, expertly employing their respective resonances and timbres...Driver is in equally full and exuberant command of his instrument. His confident, crisply embellished readings are stylish, multi-hued, and enlivening nailings of the modernist tone” bbc.co.uk, 30th April 2012

“It would be difficult to overpraise this wonderfully enterprising disc...and it would be hard to imagine playing of a more coruscating brilliance, delicacy and affection. The superb Danny Driver gives his all and is partnered to the hilt by the Scottish conductor Rory Macdonald.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

“Chisholm was himself a formidable pianist, and both Concertos teem with the kind of brilliant bravura keyboard writing that is meat and drink to Driver. The orchestration is colourfully, but conductor Rory Macdonald has it well in hand. Revelatory.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 *****

“These substantial works receive carefully prepared and strongly committed performances that seem to do this wonderful music full justice; so does the superb recording. Full marks, too, for John Purser's well-informed and detailed insert notes. In short this is an important release and a most welcome addition to this distinguished composer's expanding discography.” MusicWeb International, May 2012

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Benjamin Dale: Piano Music

Benjamin Dale: Piano Music


Bowen:

Miniature Suite in C major, Op. 14

Dale, B:

Piano Sonata in D minor

Prunella

Night Fancies


Danny Driver (piano)

The monumental Piano Sonata in D minor was composed by a young Benjamin Dale while he was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music. Dale’s contemporaries included the burgeoning composer-pianists Arnold Bax and York Bowen. Dale dedicated the sonata to his close friend Bowen, who gave the premiere of the work at the Academy in February 1905 and astonished listeners with its daring structural originality and thematic integrity and its breathtaking tonal colours. The elaborate form encompasses an impressive amalgamation of the traditional slow movement, scherzo and finale into an inventive set of variations. Also featured are Dale’s charming Prunella and Night Fancies in which Dale explores impressionistic colourings. Rather aptly, the final work on the disc is the first recording of York Bowen’s Miniature Suite in C major, the Humoresque of which is dedicated reciprocally to Dale.

His expressive sensibility and remarkable dexterity make young British pianist Danny Driver the ideal advocate for this repertoire. His landmark interpretations of the Bowen Sonatas were met with huge critical acclaim and Driver performs this incredibly virtuosic music with apparent ease, passion and lyricism. This disc of eclectic and intricate piano music will surely enhance his reputation as one of Britain’s finest pianists.

“Danny Driver’s superb performance shows a confident composer, imaginative in sustaining a span of 45 minutes. Night Fancies, which Driver plays at Wigmore Hall on July 9, flirts with Impressionism, to which York Bowen’s Miniature Suite is a brilliant foil.” The Telegraph, 23rd June 2011 ****

“Here is a disc to warm the hearts and minds of those who treasure romantic nostalgia...it is doubtful that [the Sonata] has ever been played with a more shining commitment than by Danny Driver. His performance ranges from thundering rhetoric to a whispering poetic delicacy...you become enthralled by a pianist of such magisterial warmth and finesse...This issue is as moving as it is superlative.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“Danny Driver has an extraordinary affinity with English music of this period. He plays Dale's Sonata with a conviction and musicality that just might persuade you it's a forgotten masterpiece...Bowen's three-movement Suite, recorded with a slightly airier acoustic, is delivered with all the requisite wit and panache that the music demands.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 *****

“Danny Driver's stylish and immaculate playing makes an outstanding case for some technically demanding music. One for English music aficionados.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ****

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Balakirev: Piano Sonata & other works

Balakirev: Piano Sonata & other works


Balakirev:

Piano Sonata in B flat minor

Nocturne No. 2 in B minor

Mazurka No. 1 in A Flat

Mazurka No. 2 in C sharp minor

Waltz No.4 in B flat

Scherzo No. 1 in B minor

Polka in F sharp minor

Glinka:

The Lark

arr. Mili Balakirev

Taneyev:

Valse-Caprice No. 2 in D flat major

arr. Mili Balakirev


Danny Driver (piano)

Pianist Danny Driver has garnered overwhelming critical praise – and a Gramophone award nomination – for his previous discs for Hyperion. His authoritative and virtuosic performances of York Bowen and CPE Bach have placed him firmly in the ‘one to watch’ category. For his latest disc, he turns to one of the giants of the Russian piano world.

This disc looks beyond the ubiquitous ‘Islamey’ to some of Balakirev’s most important works – which are curiously underrepresented on disc. The Piano Sonata in B flat minor is a major achievement of the period and one quite unlike any contemporary large-scale piano composition. Its absence from the standard repertoire is unfortunate, as it is fully worthy of such a place. Undoubtedly this marvellous recording will provoke a reappraisal.

“In particular, the piano sonata in B flat minor is a terrific, big-hearted piece, unlike anything else from its period, and its neglect in the concert hall is surely due a reappraisal. Driver adds several other delicious treats...Impressive playing throughout” The Observer, 23rd January 2011

“This is by no means gratuitously embroidered music but, as Driver also shows, music of sometimes tender, plaintive emotion, as in a B minor Nocturne...Bravo to Hyperion for championing this music and to Driver for playing it with such sensitivity, polish and élan.” The Telegraph, 4th February 2011 *****

“It's wonderful to see a talent such as this continuing to address the more obscure pianistic byways, and here Driver has assembled a fabulous array of works from Balakirev's very varied keyboard output...This is a fabulous introduction to the very diverse and unduly neglected works by one of the finest of nineteenth-century pianist composers.” International Record Review, March 2011

“Driver presents [Islamey] in a tonally ravishing and lucid performance of the utmost sensitivity...the disc is unquestionably another feather in the cap of a pianist whose every new release is now eagerly anticipated.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2011

“Hyperion's new release is full of music that mixes Chopinesque grace with Russian-bear grandiosity. Driver is the sort of pianist who can handle both, delivering performances of poise, power and no shortage of passion.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - June 2011

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CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 1

CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 1


Bach, C P E:

Keyboard Sonata in G minor, Wq. 65/17 (H47)

Sonata in A major (Prussian Sonata No. 6), Wq. 48/6 (H29)

Sonata in B flat major (Prussian Sonata No. 2), Wq. 48/2 (H25)

Sonata in C minor (Prussian Sonata No. 4), Wq. 48/4 (H27)

Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, Wq. 52/1 (H50)


Danny Driver (piano)

The pianist Danny Driver has garnered the highest possible praise for his two York Bowen discs on Hyperion. Now, demonstrating his extraordinary versatility, he turns to a composer from a very different age—yet one who has been similarly overlooked by the musical establishment, while always having a place in the heart of connoisseurs of arcane keyboard music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788), second son of Johann Sebastian, was both revered and criticized by his contemporaries for his bold departures from conventional modes of musical expression. He perfected a highly original and intensely personal compositional style known as the empfindsamer Stil (literally, the ‘sensitive style’). As the works on this recording show, Bach’s approach to musical expressiveness found voice in frequent mood changes, abundant rests and ‘sighing’ motifs, the juxtaposition of contrasting rhythmic figures, deceptive cadences, and dramatic, rhetorical harmonic interjections. Bach became particularly renowned for his ability to improvise fantasias—seemingly free-form, stream-of-consciousness flights of fancy characterized by unmeasured rhythm and distant harmonic excursions. Yet underlying even the most improvisatory of his compositions is a coherent structure.

Emanuel Bach’s music breaks dramatically away from, yet also builds upon, the early eighteenth-century style perfected by his father. His compositions mark one of the first—and among the most inspired—repudiations of the baroque aesthetic, in which a single unified mood dominates each movement. Emanuel Bach composed more than three hundred keyboard works during his lifetime—all of the works on this recording were composed during the 1740s, while in the service of King Frederick II of Prussia.

“Danny Driver...makes his superlative case for music that is as inventive as it is unsettling. Playing with imperturbable authority, he captures all the mercurial fits and starts of the G minor Sonata...It would be impossible to over-estimate Driver's impeccable technique and musicianship...This is surely one of the finest of all recent keyboard issues.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2010

“[CPE Bach] was no pale imitation of his father. He had ideas of his own, as the bristling, thoughtful and imaginative playing on this disc testifies...Driver meets the interpretative challenges with a lively mind, dexterity and warm sensibility in a way that brings CPE Bach’s startling originality sharply into focus.” The Telegraph, 18th June 2010 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2010

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Bowen - The Piano Sonatas

Bowen - The Piano Sonatas


Bowen:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in B minor, Op. 6

Piano Sonata No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 9

Piano Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 12

Short Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 35, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 5 in F minor, Op. 72

Piano Sonata No. 6 Op. 160


Danny Driver (piano)

The recent revival of York Bowen’s music, very much spearheaded by Hyperion, has spawned a plethora of new recordings of his compositions, and won him many new admirers. Among the new releases, this disc of Bowen’s piano sonatas is a uniquely important collection. It contains three premiere recordings, including two recordings of previously unpublished sonatas performed (with special permisson) from the manuscripts. It is thus the first ever recording of the complete sonatas – an unmissable opportunity for piano enthusiasts.

Hyperion is delighted to welcome back the young virtuoso Danny Driver who was enthusiastically acclaimed for his masterly, stylish and technically dazzling performances of Bowen’s Third and Fourth Piano Concertos, and described as an ideal performer of these works.

“Danny Driver, whose debut on Hyperion was an acclaimed recording of Bowen's Third and Fourth piano concertos, is the ideal advocate for this glorious music, playing with razor-sharp articulation and a rich, organ-like sonority… while characterising Bowen's ruminative slow movements with tender introspection and an improvisatory air…” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“Scintillating demands amply accomplished by Driver, whose light filigree passagework is sensationally clear … Driver’s virtuosity and technical finesse is remarkable” International Record Review

“Danny Driver plays the canon of six sonatas with a blend of warmth, bravura, expressive sensibility and verve … Driver’s superb, astute performances are convincing testimonies to Bowen assimilating stimuli with a potent imagination of his own” The Telegraph

GGramophone Awards 2010

Finalist - Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2009

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York Bowen: The complete works for violin and piano

York Bowen: The complete works for violin and piano


Bowen:

Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 112

Allegretto, Op. 105

Suite for Violin & Piano, Op. 28

Melody for the G string, Op. 47

Phantasie in E minor, Op. 34

Song

Bolero

Melody

Albumleaf

Violin Sonata in B minor, Op. 7

Romance in D flat major

Serenade

Valse harmonique


Chloë Hanslip (violin) & Danny Driver (piano)

Young virtuoso Chloë Hanslip and York Bowen specialist Danny Driver present Bowen’s complete works for violin and piano. Many of these works have never been recorded or indeed published before, and have been excavated from the archives by Driver himself. This double album is therefore a valuable resource for admirers of a composer whom Hyperion has done so much to champion through recordings. This body of work includes juvenilia, miniatures (written with an eye to academic performance during Bowen’s years as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, but all impressive enough in quality to be concert works), his two Violin Sonatas, a Suite and a number of single-movement works. All show a superb composer of chamber music, a genuine original with a performer’s ear.

“Violinist and pianist on this set do these minor pieces ideally, and full marks to Chloe Hanslip and Danny Drive for neither milking them sentimentally nor condescending to their simplicity by over-exaggeration.” International Record Review, May 2013

“[Hanslip's] playing reminds me of some of the finest and most individual players of the past. There is an elegance and gallantry to her phrasing that cannot be taught or practiced – it's just there...In her performing colleague Danny Driver she has the ideal co-creator of musical magic...this is a superlative pair of discs. Bowen might not be a genius, but if ever a pair of performers were going to persuade me otherwise, this would be the team.” MusicWeb International, 16th May 2013

“one idiomatic opportunity after another is seized on by Chloë Hanslip with panache, poise, and laser-like accuracy...My only reservation about these excellent performances concerns Danny Driver's accompaniments: superbly fluent and supportive, they're also perhaps a touch more self-effacing than they need to be.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2013 ****

“there's a wholly infectious conviction, spontaneity and panache about these superbly accomplished performances that lend them special distinction. Chloe Hanslip plays with the most enviably sweet and subtly variegated tone...[Driver's] irreproachably eager and stylish pianism is a joy to encounter.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2013

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Rarities of Piano Music at the Husum Festival 2011

Rarities of Piano Music at the Husum Festival 2011


Alexandrov, Anatoly:

Nocturne in A major, Op. 3 No. 1

Jonathan Powell (piano)

Bergh, S:

Norwegian Dance No. 2 “Gamel-Holin” (Old Holin)

Håvard Gimse (piano)

Bowen:

Piano Sonata No. 6 Op. 160: Moderato e serioso

Danny Driver (piano)

Prelude in B flat minor, Op. 102 No. 22

Danny Driver (piano)

Bülow, H:

Dante's Sonnet (after Liszt)

Nadejda Vlaeva (piano)

Intermezzo scherzoso, Op. 21 No. 9

Nadejda Vlaeva (piano)

Cassadó:

Habanera

Artur Pizarro (piano)

Eiges:

Skazka, Op. 12 No. 2

Jonathan Powell (piano)

Field:

Nocturne No. 10 in E minor

Piers Lane (piano)

Grieg:

Modersorg, Op. 52 No. 1

Håvard Gimse (piano)

Hurum:

Aquarelles, Op. 5, No. 2: Miniature (1912)

Håvard Gimse (piano)

Meinders:

Strangers in the Night

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

Pick-Mangiagalli:

La Danza di Olaf

Roland Pöntinen (piano)

Sabaneev:

Prelude, Op. 10 No. 5

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

Schulhof:

Valse viennoise, Op. 22

Daniel Berman (piano)

Schumann:

Variations on a Nocturne by Chopin

Piers Lane (piano)

Sibelius:

Impromptu in B minor, Op. 5, No. 5

Håvard Gimse (piano)

Tchaikovsky, B:

Sonatina

Olga Solovieva (piano)

Vierne, L:

Nocturne, Op. 35 No. 1

Artur Pizarro (piano)

Wild:

O, Cease Thy Singing (after Rachmaninov)

Daniel Berman (piano)


Founded in 1987 the annual Rarities of Piano Music Festival in the North German town of Husum is a major event. Danacord is proud to release the latest recording from the 25th Festival of 2011, featuring again, rare piano music played by some of the leading pianists of today.

“a wealth of rare and exciting items for the questing pianophile...Each pianist brings something new, something unusual to the mix...When a series digs out such interesting fare and goes to the trouble of commissioning well-researched booklet notes, you know you are in the safest of hands.” MusicWeb International, March 2013

Danacord Husum Festival Rarities - DACOCD719

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