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Cat. No. CHAN 10506 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10506 - Bowen: Works for Piano, Volume 3
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Available From: 01 January 2009
This collection ranges widely over Bowen’s solo piano output, from the larger, demanding, virtuoso Second Ballade in A minor, dating from about 1930, to the Three Miniatures, composed fifteen years previously following Bowen’s being invalided out of the Scots Guards. The earliest works on this volume are the Three Pieces, Op. 20, written around 1905. The piano writing is superb, perhaps influenced by Fauré and certainly impressionistic in intent; they reveal a young master’s mind. Robert Matthew-Walker writes of Bowen’s Short Sonata, Op.35 No.1, ‘it is one of the gems in Bowen’s entire solo piano output; its melodic inspiration is first-class and the treatment of the material is quite masterly and wholly organic… utterly delightful’. The Toccata came relatively late in Bowen’s career, dating from 1957. This most brilliant work was first premiered by Bowen himself and, considering the virtuosity of the work, remains a striking example of how the composer maintained his keyboard technique until the end of his days. Matthew-Walker writes, ‘there is no finer example of the genre in the British solo piano repertoire – and one would be hard-pressed to find its equal by any twentieth-century composer of whatever nationality’.

In 1945, in an interview, Bowen said, ‘I have always tried to compose modern music that is still music’. From a distance of more than sixty years, and through the irresistible advocacy of Joop Celis, we may appreciate his aesthetic objective, and how well he accomplished it.

"The Dutch pianist Joop Celis proves an enthusiastic and highly virtuosic exponent of York Bowen and he offers a valuable anthology of his solo piano music... Fine realistic recording makes this a most desirable issue."

The Pengiun Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12


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