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Hyperion Records

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The Reluctant Pianist (detail) by William A Breakspeare (1855-1914)
Reproduced by courtesy of Fine Art Photographs, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67606
Recording details: October 2006
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2008
Total duration: 11 minutes 6 seconds

'Philip Martin proves a strong Herz advocate, displaying a genuine affection for the music and all the requisite flair for the abundant trills, roulades, scales … and repeated left-hand jumps' (International Record Review)

'Hyperion continues its invaluable exploration of the piano's highways and byways with this richly enjoyable programme from Philip Martin, focusing on the scintillating output of Viennese child prodigy Henri Herz … the salonesque, radiant charms of the La Cenerentola variations … come tripping off the page in this affectionately sparkling performance from Philip Martin, whose warmly engaging style is a constant source of pleasure throughout' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Philip Martin sounds like he is enjoying himself, and his technique is fully up to the tasks at hand' (Fanfare, USA)

'Herz may not be a great composer, yet his stuff certainly is fun to digest in small doses, especially when you consider Philip Martin's appropriately light and colorful touch, supple finger work, and marvelous sense of dramatic timing … collectors who dote on the rare Romantics need no prodding to acquire this excellently engineered release' (ClassicsToday.com)

'Martin, fresh from his laudable eight-disc survey of Gottschalk's piano music, tackles these well-programmed works with sensuousness and vitality, capturing the ornately flamboyant allure of the music with great affection' (Musical Criticism.com)

Deuxième thème original avec introduction et variations, Op 81
composer
dedicated to Madame Henry Shellon

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Deuxième thème original avec introduction et variations Op 81 begins with a stormy Introduzione in G minor (Allegro con fuoco), before Herz presents his theme, a Donizetti-like cavatina in G major. The brilliant first variation in 2/4 features an ‘umpah-umpah’ left hand more familiar from early ragtime compositions (in one bar Herz offers an ossia with higher notes for pianos with the luxury of seven octaves). Still in the tonic, Variation 2 is in 6/8 and marked Lo stesso tempo, grazioso tranquillo. Variation 3 retains the triplets but these are now vivo e leggiero and in 2/4. The key shifts to A flat major for the lovely Chopinesque fourth variation, modulating back to the home key for a concluding alla polacca and a con brio finale. The work is dedicated to Madame Henry Shellon.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

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