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A new addition to the British Piano Concerto on Naxos, this is the first major piano recording by contemporary British composer Gavin Bryars. The emotional content, lyricism and direct appeal of Gavin Bryars’s music are unique, reflecting a contemporary composer’s absorption and transformation of several centuries of musical craftsmanship in order to reflect his, and our, own epoch.
Originally written for harpsichord, After Handel’s Vesper is a strong illustration of Bryars’s post-minimal interests in early music repertoire. Ramble on Cortona, derived from 13th-century music, makes expressive use of the piano’s resonant qualities. The highly-coloured almost impressionistic piano concerto, The Solway Canal, was written for Ralph van Raat. Scored for piano, orchestra and choir, it evokes dreamy landscapes.
Gavin Bryars: After Handel's Vesper (version for piano)
After Handel's Vesper (version for piano)
Gavin Bryars: Ramble on Cortona
Ramble on Cortona
Gavin Bryars: Piano Concerto, "The Solway Canal"
Piano Concerto, "The Solway Canal"
“The orchestral writing in the Concerto...shares something of the melancholy beauty of [his most famous pieces]. The rippling piano part runs through the entire 28 minutes without a pause, while the orchestra subtly shadows the soloist.”
“It's in the nature of Bryars's solo piano music that it flows along in gently timeless way...it also severally challenges a performer's ability to keep the listener's attention suitably gripped. In After Handel's Vesper's and Ramble on Cortona, Ralph van Raat manages this fairly well. But he's on stronger form in the Piano Concerto, with its much wider spectrum of moods and colours.”
“The concerto reveals hidden depths with each listening and rather overshadows the other two pieces on this disc...Ralph van Raat's playing combines powerful projection with a Neo-Romantic sensibility, focusing on important details while rarely losing sight of the music's dynamic swell and sweep.”
13th March 2011
“These three works fascinate even if they do not involve. The Piano Concerto evokes something not far removed from Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony, only less storm-tossed. While delicate colouristic effects abound, it is a work of unhurried, dreaming whimsy. Van Raat is a passionate, skilled advocate.”