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CHAN 10277
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CHAN 10277
Piano Works

Bowen: Works for Piano, Volume 1

The Classical Shop
release date: February 2005

Originally recorded in 2004

Artists:

Joop Celis

piano

Venue:

Willem Hijstek Zaal, Maastricht Conservatory, The Netherlands



Producer:

Eric Schoones



Engineer:

Fred Huijser



Record Label
Chandos

Genre:

Piano




Total Time - 68:10
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Piano Works

 

YORK BOWEN

(1884-1961)
Select Complete Single Disc for
   
premiere recording
 

Sonata No. 6, Op. 160

15:09  
  in B flat minor - in b-Moll - en si bémol mineur - in bes kl.t.  
1 I Moderato e serioso - Allegro risoluto e con fuoco 7:42
2 II Intermezzo. Poco lento e tranquillo - 3:57
3 III Finale alla toccata. Allegro molto e con spirito 3:22
   
 

24 Preludes, Op. 102

47:58  
  in all major and minor keys  
4 1 Moderato appassionato 1:05
5 2 Andante tranquillo 2:15
6 3 Andante grazioso 1:54
7 4 Allegro con fuoco 1:16
8 5 Allegro risoluto 1:35
9 6 Andante con moto 2:55
10 7 Andante amabile 1:54
11 8 Poco lento, serioso 2:22
12 9 Allegro risoluto e ritmico 1:44
13 10 Moderato, a capriccio 1:34
14 11 Andante con moto e grazioso 2:42
15 12 Allegro con fuoco 1:41
16 13 Andante tranquillo 2:16
17 14 Allegretto scherzando 1:21
18 15 Allegretto grazioso 1:44
19 16 Moderato semplice 2:16
20 17 Andante molto espressivo 1:55
21 18 Allegro con fuoco 2:11
22 19 Andantino con moto 1:58
23 20 Allegro con fuoco 1:23
24 21 Andante piacevole 2:34
25 22 Allegro molto e con fuoco 1:22
26 23 Andante con moto 1:47
27 24 Moderato serioso e tragico 4:10
   
28 

Rêverie, Op. 86

5:15
  in B major - in H-Dur - en si majeur - in B gr.t.  
  Andante espressivo e rubato  
York Bowen has been described as ‘the English Rachmaninov’. He was a prodigious pianist whose deep and richly expressive music is known to only a few seekers of elusive musical gems. As a young composer he was highly regarded. Camille Saint-Saëns described him as ‘the most remarkable of the Young British composers’. His music was performed by such renowned musicians as Fritz Kreisler and he was described by many as the finest pianist since Anton Rubinstein. As many newspapers of the time testify, his concerts were always a special event. The reason for his subsequent obscurity remains a mystery, for his distinctive music is of the highest quality.

Contains the premiere recording of the Sonata in B flat minor.

The distinguished Dutch pianist Joop Celis performs regularly as a solo, chamber and concert artist. He has a number of recordings to his credit and is regularly broadcast on Dutch, Belgian and German radio. He teaches at the Conservatory of Maastricht and at the Lemmens Institute in Louvain, Belgium.


York Bowen studied composition with Frederick Corder (himself a pupil of Ferdinand Hiller), and won many prizes while still a student. In these years the German, and generally teutonic, influence dominated the British musical establishment. Bowen, however, was more responsive to two other 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 Rachmaninov, 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 Rêverie in B major, Op. 86 is a calm, dreamy piece, reminiscent of an improvisation. The 24 Preludes in all major and minor keys, Op. 102 were composed a few years before the outbreak of World War II. The composer Kaikhosru Sorabji hired the Wigmore Hall one afternoon in order to hear the composer play them. His described them as ‘inexhaustible pianistic invention, endlessly fascinating and imaginative harmonic subtlety… an aesthetic experience as rare and delightful as it was exciting’.
The Sonata No. 6 in B flat minor, Op. 150 is Bowen’s last composition, written in 1961, the year of his death. Both Rachmaninov and Chopin wrote sonatas in the same key, but stylistically, in the first movement at least, one is reminded more of Brahms, though the Intermezzo evokes a pastoral mood and with its warm-coloured harmonies possesses an unmistakably English character.


"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


"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


The Dutch pianist Joop Celis plays with accuracy (some minor alterations to the text of the Preludes apparently follow the example of Bowen’s performances) and clarity even in some very full textures.
BBC Music Magazine

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

Amazingly, the Sixth Sonata receives its first recording, its breadth and, in the finale, crazed exuberance played to the hilt by Celis. Here, then, is both a creative and recreative revelation magnificently recorded. Is it too much to hope that Joop Celis and Chandos will give us a complete York Bowen cycle?
Gramophone

Celis (who was born in 1958) is, though, a thoroughly sympathetic advocate of Bowen’s work (and writes enthusiastically about it in the booklet note). His CD includes the first recording of the 15-minute Sonata No. 6, Bowen’s last composition… Chandos’s very clear recording… reveals Celis’s playing as powerful and poised, nimble and sensitive.
International Record Review

The very first bars well you why Bowen was nicknamed ‘the British Rachmaninov’: you hear the same combination of dark tone and long-fingered, fluid counterpoint. But although Rachmaninov lurks in the background as an obvious influence, it becomes clear that there is a very English sensibility at play here – Rachmaninov edited by John Ireland, if you like…I hadn’t come across the Dutch pianist Joop Celis before, but he’s plainly a player of the first order, coping easily with Bowen’s fearsome demands. Good sound and informative notes by Celis himself.
Pianist




*****
C Morris

*****
K Charin