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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: 9 minutes 56 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)

Variations on 'Non pi¨ mesta' from Rossini's La Cenerentola, Op 60
composer
composer
1817; originally composed for The Barber of Seville, 1816

Introduction  EnglishFranšaisDeutsch
The Variations on ‘Non più mesta’ from Rossini’s La Cenerentola Op 60 is Herz’s best-known work. Sometimes known as the Rondo Aria, ‘Non più mesta’ (‘No longer sad beside the fire’) is the pyrotechnical aria sung by the eponymous heroine at the end of Rossini’s opera, premiered in 1817. Rossini had composed the tune a year earlier for Count Almaviva’s final aria, ‘Ah! il più lieto, il più felice’ (‘Ah! of all loving hearts mine is the happiest’), in The Barber of Seville, a number that is generally omitted from productions nowadays.

Several composers were attracted to this show-stopper, including Chopin (his flaccid variations for flute and piano were written at the age of fourteen), Franz Hünten, Diabelli and Burgmüller, but Herz’s response is surely the finest, as witty and agile as the original. The introduction, theme, six variations and finale remain resolutely in C major while Herz throws all manner of digital challenges at the performer, including left-hand skips of tenths and twelfths, rapid scales and repeated notes for the right hand, broken octaves and, in Variation 5, a dolcissimo quasi glissando in thirds.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas ę 2008

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