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Cat. No. CHAN 9895 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9895 - Grainger: Vol. 16 - Works for Solo Piano 1
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Available From: 15 January 2001
When the young Percy Grainger enrolled at Dr Hoch’s Conservatoire in Frankfurt-am-Main and had just begun his piano studies with James Kwast, he had just reached the minimum age for entry (thirteen years). He had of course already appeared in his native homeland as a pianist and won suitable admiration.

His student days lasted from the autumn of 1895 to spring 1900. According to surviving records, Grainger’s lessons in counterpoint with Ivan Knorr did not take place until the 1897/98 term and were not pursued for the whole year. Up to this period Grainger had already composed a small collection of what he was later to call ‘Childhood Works’ and which were presented in an album as a ‘birthday gift’ to his mother in 1893. These consisted of various anthems and piano pieces all very much in the style of Handel or similar. An unfinished Piano Concerto appeared in 1896 which was to be followed in 1897 by a Rondo for Piano, four hands, a Klavier Quartette based on the same material as used in the Rondo and the Drei Klavierstücke for piano solo.

Much has been made of Grainger’s supposed aversion to the piano – the instrument upon which his livelihood depended – but it is obvious to anyone who investigates his piano music that he thought as freshly about the musical possibilities of the instrument as he did about everything else.

Rarely has the precociousness of his talent been better demonstrated than on this new disc… the rarities, like the more familiar pieces, are played with unapologetic conviction. Penelope Thwaites, a Grainger advocate since well before the current boom, paints the music in bold strokes… a major contribution to the Grainger discography.

There is a personal character to Graingers music also, which gradually emerges as Grainger expert Penelope Thwaites journeys through the first decade of his composing life… the unique Grainger glow, which comes from wistful chromatic harmonies that are spiked with wit, is definitely there.
BBC Music Magazine

‘Penelope Thwaites, for many years a fervent and knowledgeable advocate for Grainger’s music, is an ideal partner, the exuberance of her playing having full rein…’
British Music Society on CHAN 9503 (Songs for Baritone)

‘Penelope Thwaites provides expert accompaniments…’
Fanfare on CHAN 9610 (Songs for Tenor)


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