Recorded for the first time, here is a comprehensive overview of the piano music of Arthur Benjamin, an Australian composer who spent most of his time in Europe and whose music has been neglected for years. It is performed by Ian Munro, whose affinity for this music is astonishing. He has been a devotee of Benjamin for years, and the quality of his research is clearly revealed in the annotations he has provided with this release.
Munro's biography of Benjamin is the only available analytical biography of this composer in the available literature. Also included with the CD is a charming introduction by Joan Trimble, a former student and colleague of Benjamin, and the pianist who premiered Jamaican Rumba! This music is accessible and virtuosic, and the children's pieces are thoroughly charming.
“The works included here are not among [Benjamin's] larger, 'serious' works; they are all character pieces, and many of them rely on popular music for their idiom. The Rumba of the title is one such--reminding this listener of nothing so much as Milhaud's Boeuf sur le Toit and Scaramouche.”
“Benjamin's Jamaican Rumba was the result of a visit there in 1938 and it soon became a world hit. He did not repeat that success, yet his other genre pieces here are full of attractive ideas and catchy rhythmic invention...The performances here are first class; so is the recording”
“Benjamin is fortunate having Ian Munro (who also provides the notes for this disc) as the first pianist to pursue his star with such dedication. Munro is an adaptable and sensitive pianist with reserves of technical skill always at the service of Benjamin’s art rather than his own aggrandisement.”
“Benjamin's piano writing has the elegance and sophistication of the French School...Ian Munro revels in the music's dashing bravura. Throughout he plays with great style and elegance and obvious affection. This is a wholly delightful recital with never a dull moment throughout its 78 minutes.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.