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Bowen - The Piano Sonatas
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 It contains three premiere recordings, including two recordings of previously unpublished sonatas performed (with special permisson) from the manuscripts.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
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Bowen - Piano Music
“York Bowen could have no more ardent or pianistically adroit advocate” Gramophone Magazine
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York Bowen Piano Music Volume 2
“Dutch pianist Joop Celis displays impeccable technique in Bowen’s demanding scores. He is clearly an excellent musician. Chandos offers clear, vibrant sound. A lot of dedicated work and effort has gone into this recording” American Record Guide
“Celis deserves the highest praise for his powerful advocacy of this passionate and appealing music, heard here in warmly-recorded sound” Classic FM Magazine
“The major offering here is York Bowen's Fifth Sonata, music on a heroic scale, heavily indebted to Rachmaninov's Second Sonata, music that had clearly got under Bowen's skin. Yet the cross-fertilisation of Russian and English idioms is richly personal and such superbly crafted writing is a constant reminder of a composer in love with the piano. Again, as old-timers will recall, Bowen was a master pianist in his own and other people's music. The central Andante broods with a wholly Russian sense of romantic darkness and despondency, and the finale's dazzling rhetoric includes a ghostly recall of the first movement's fanfares before ending in a blaze of virtuoso glory. Not everything speaks with this level of inspiration yet all this music is composed with an innate understanding of a sheerly pianistic magic.
Bowen's Fantasia is hugely ambitious and EveningCalm also outstays its welcome. But the First Intermezzo's Schumannesque charm is beguiling and so is the delightfully off-centre Siciliano e Toccatina. However, not a single piece on this excellently recorded disc could be in more sensitive or magisterial hands. Joop Celis confirms his stature at every point.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Joop Celis confirms his stature at every point.” Gramophone Magazine
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York Bowen: Piano Works
Piano Sonata No. 6 Op. 160
24 Preludes Op. 102
Rêverie Op. 86
Piano Sonata No. 5 in F minor, Op. 72
Nocturne, Op. 78
Ripples (A Short Sketch), Op. 100, No. 1
Fantasia, Op. 132
Two Intermezzi, Op. 141
Siciliano and Toccatina, Op. 128
Ballade No 2, Op 87
Three Songs without Words, Op. 94
Three Preludes, Op. 81 No. 2
Three Preludes, Op. 81 No. 3
Short Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 35, No. 1
Three Miniatures, Op. 44
Three Serious Dances, Op. 51
Toccata, Op. 155
Three Pieces, Op. 20
Partita, Op. 156
Suite Mignonne, Op. 39
Suite No. 3, Op. 38
Three Sketches, Op. 43
Sonatina, Op. 144
Three Novelettes, Op. 124
Polonaise in F sharp major, Op. 26, No. 2
A Whim, Op. 19, No. 2
York Bowen has been described as ‘The English Rachmaninoff’. As a young composer he was highly regarded by the most admired performers of the day, including Hans Richter, Fritz Kreisler, and Lionel Tertis. Bowen composed more than 160 works, which show a blend of romanticism and strong individuality. This collection ranges widely over his output for solo piano, from relatively large-scale structures to quite short, almost miniature, pieces.
Evident in these works is Bowen’s responsiveness to two very different national schools: the Russian, with its often epic character, its pianistic virtuosity, strong rhythmical impact, and darkly atmospheric, melancholic harmonies and melodies, and the French, generally distinguished by its lightness, its playfully decorated melodies, and tender harmonies. Among the composers whose piano music left a mark on Bowen’s own works for the instrument are Rachmaninoff, Balakirev, Medtner, Scriabin, Debussy, and even sometimes Ravel. Echoes of the music of Ireland, Delius, Elgar, and Vaughan Williams may, however, also be heard in Bowen’s work. It is this fusion of different styles which makes Bowen’s own very individual sound world so remarkable.
The Dutch pianist Joop Celis has given lecture recitals on the piano works of York Bowen for the Dutch and Belgian branches of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), and in 2005 he gave master-classes, lectures, and recitals both in South Korea and China, performing piano works by Bowen.
Scheduled for release on 3 June 2013. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.