Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.
The Romantic Piano Concerto 46 - York Bowen
Hyperion’s virtually single-handed rehabilitation of the music of York Bowen (known in his time as ‘The English Rachmaninov’), continues apace with this recording of the third and fourth piano concertos. Piano Concerto No 3 is a vigorous one-movement work with three well-defined sections of varying tempos in Fantasia style. Bowen’s sparkling performances of it drew plaudits from contemporary critics, who hailed it as his best composition thus far.
The Piano Concerto No 4 (said by Sorabji to be the greatest work for piano and orchestra ever written by an Englishman) is a large-scale Romantic, virtuoso work, impressionistic solo passages alternating freely with Straussian orchestral textures throughout. It was written for a BBC broadcast, and for the composer himself to perform; Bowen considered the work his best composition for the piano and an important addition to the concerto literature. It has not been given a studio recording until now.
The young British pianist Danny Driver, a Bowen specialist, gives a virtuoso performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins.
‘Driver boasts an impressive technique and a clear musical intelligence’ (The Observer)
‘Danny Driver is a thoughtful and musical player and the possessor of a formidable technique … [his] control of dynamic and phrasing were exceptional’ (Musical Opinion)
‘Driver has all the makings of becoming a notable musician—one of integrity and intelligence, commodities all too rare … his naturalness, thinking, and understatement reminded, respectively, of Lupu, Brendel and Curzon’ (The Classical Source)
“Danny Driver… Brabbins and the punchy Scottish players play Bowen as if he were standard repertoire with the added zest of a live performance. The 1908 four-movements-in-one Third Concerto… with its surging climaxes and souring themes, offers 17 minutes of instant gratification... The much longer... Fourth Concerto (1937) is generally darker in character, no less attractive but even more rewarding. The writing veers between magical impressionism and passionate bravura outburst couched in Straussian orchestral textures. Thrilling stuff.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2008
“The Fourth Concerto of 1937 tells a stronger story. The first movement's smouldering opening at once impresses - as does its recall at the end of the finale, memorably combined with that movement's own themes. The second movement, too, has some wonderful lyrical flights. Danny Driver's pianism is fully and eagerly up to Bowen's considerable demands. He is supported by the BBC Scottish Orchestra's vivid and satisfying contribution.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2009 ****
“Soloist Danny Driver emerges as the virtuoso hero of the hour” Classic FM Magazine
“Absolutely stunning … what a way to be introduced to the music of York Bowen!” American Record Guide
“This disc is the latest and arguably the most impressive so far in the continuing resuscitation of the music of London-born composer-pianist York Bowen (1884–1961).’These two concertos sound more Continental than English, with the single-movement Third (1908) betraying the influence of
Saint-Saëns and the more substantial Fourth (1937) having a Debussy-meets-Strauss late-Romantic palette. Both, though, have enough scintillating character of their own to reward repeated listening, while Danny Driver’s performances are masterly, stylish and full of dazzling pianism” The Telegraph
“Sorabji, in the final essay of Mi Contra Fa, declared York Bowen to be 'at the present time , the one English composer whose work can justly be said to be that of a great Master of the [piano]'. Hearing these two works, it's hard to deny that Sorabji had a point.
It takes a particular kind of pianistic sensibility to take up Bowen's virtuoso challenges and 'sell' them. Danny Driver certainly lives up to his surname. He, Brabbins and the punchy Scottish players play Bowen as if he were standard repertoire with the added zest of a live performance.
The 1908 four-movements-in-one Third Concerto (aka Fantasia), with its surging climaxes and soaring themes, offers 17 minutes of instant gratification, though it's a pity Hyperion did not provide separate tracks for the work's distinct sections.
The much longer (42'53”) Fourth Concerto (1937) is generally darker in character, no less attractive but even more rewarding. The writing veers between magical impressionism and passionate bravura outbursts couched in Straussian orchestral textures. Thrilling stuff. Driver, again, is firmly in the spotlight. This is his first recording for Hyperion. Here's to many more, including his planned complete York Bowen sonatas.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Danny Driver communicates energetic enjoyment in playing both concertos” The Guardian, 31st October 2008 ***
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.
York Bowen - Piano Concerto Nos. 2 & 3
Recorded at The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 20-21 February 2007
“The Second and Third Piano Concertos, together with the ambitious SymphonicFantasia, make a fine follow-up to the coupling of the First Piano Concerto and Violin Concerto. Such largesse deserves the highest praise and it is easy to see a wry if grateful smile crossing Bowen's face if he were alive as he remembered his dismissal by modernists who viewed him as little better than a seashell washed ashore in a ruthlessly unaccommodating age.
Today, Bowen's unapologetic romanticism has found several champions taken by his warmth and sincerity and an open-hearted nostalgia for less brittle, over-sophisticated times. How hard it is to resist the appeal of the Second Concerto's Lento espressivo. How easy to imagine an elegantly attired audience greeting the finale's virtuoso close with gloved plaudits, sighing with delight over present if fast-receding conservative values. The rippling charm of the Third Concerto's central Andante grazioso and the finale's sunlit capers are sure to please.
So, too, is the Symphonic Fantasia, an ideal ballet score where the third movement's nodal and expressive centre is countered by the fifth movement's proud ceremonial stance. All this is superbly performed by Vernon Handley while Michael Dussek plays with brilliant facility and the warmest musical commitment. Dutton's sound is excellent.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Today, Bowen's unapologetic romanticism has found several champions taken by his warmth and sincerity and an open-hearted nostalgia for less brittle, over-sophisticated times. All this is superbly performed by Vernon Handley while Michael Dussek (who teaches at Bowen's alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music) plays with brilliant facility and the warmest musical commitment. Dutton's sound is excellent and so is Lewis Foreman's predictably informative essay.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.