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Alwyn: Piano Works
The Classical Shop
release date: May 2000
Originally recorded in 1999
Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk
Total Time - 68:38
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Sonata alla toccata
Maestoso - Allegro ritmico e jubilante
Andante con moto e semplice
Movements for Piano
The Devil's Reel
Andante: thoughtful and expressive -
Poco più mosso - Agitato - Tempo I, molto tranquillo
Andante molto e tranquillo - Poco più mosso - Poco agitato - Tranquillo e dolce
Tempo rubato e cappriccioso
Vivace, ma ritmico
Lento e lugubre
Julian Milford performs a sparkling account of Alwyn’s solo piano music.
This disc features four premiere recordings.
Regarded as one of today’s most accomplished pianists, Julian Milford studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Guildhall School of Music in London. He specialises in chamber music and duo repertoire, and performs regularly with some of Britain’s most promising young singers and instrumentalists.
Almost all of Alwyn’s works have been recorded by Chandos, and almost all the recordings of his music currently available belong to Chandos
The earliest work recorded here is ‘Green Hills’, written in 1935 during an examination tour abroad. It is rather more than a simple longing for home and bears close affinity with John Ireland’s piano writing, not only in its language and layout but also in its mystical, possibly pantheistic, inspiration.
‘Movements’ was the first work written after a time when Alwyn was unable to compose due to a breakdown, and through the gentle care of his second wife he made a full recovery. It is dedicated to her. Although a romantic, Alwyn was keen to emphasise the abstract nature of music, but surely this piece is coloured by the disturbing psychological voyage he had undergone. Night Thoughts of 1939 is a product of the composer’s first fire-watching patrols at the beginning of the war. It is dedicated to Peter Latham, a close friend.
The ‘Fantasy-Waltzes’ were written during 1956 and 1957 for the pianist whom Alwyn considered ‘the finest in the world’: Richard Farrell, a young New Zealander. The work is undoubtedly one of Alwyn’s most important ventures into piano writing. Initially intended as independent miniatures, the piece grew with the making and, paradoxically, the diverse moods, keys and tempi bind them together as a unit.
‘Sonata alla toccata’ dates from 1945-6 and was written for Denis Matthews, who gave its first performance at the Cheltenham Festival in 1953. Alwyn explained that the work was written ‘with no particular theory in mind (save a dash of neoclassicism) for sheer enjoyment of my beloved piano!’.
‘…with Julian Milford an outstanding partner.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9596 (Carwithen)
‘Julian Milford’s playing is excellent: he ‘speaks’ this music as a mother tongue…’
American Record Guide
‘…and how Milford complements her in both fire and temperament.’
Hi-Fi News and Records Review on CHAN 9624 (Elgar)
‘Both Lydia Mordkovitch and Julian Milford extract an extraordinary range of tone colour…’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9756 (Stravinsky)
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