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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: 12 minutes 32 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)

Trois Nocturnes caractéristiques, Op 45
composer
dedicated to Mademoiselle Eudoxie Cordel

La dolcezza  [4'47]
La melanconia  [3'47]
La semplicità  [3'58]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Herz—described on the cover as ‘Pianiste de S. M. le Roi de France’—offers this blindingly obvious note at the head of the score of the Trois Nocturnes caractéristiques Op 45: ‘To play these Nocturnes in the manner intended by the composer, one must endeavor to make the piano sing and to draw from it a sweet and melodious sound’.

La dolcezza is a Bellini-like aria in A flat major (its central section modulating to B major) and at the very least worthy of revival as an encore. La melanconia, in G minor and marked Moderato parlante, has a similar wistful vocal quality which Herz rounds off with a gentle flurry of arpeggios and a final sighing chord in the major. La semplicità, to be played con certa espressione parlante and dolce semplice innocentemente, employs the same device of a simple, single-note melody with flowing accompaniment, rather in the manner of a nocturne by John Field. All three are well within the reach of the amateur and, one assumes, of their dedicatee, the wonderfully named Mademoiselle Eudoxie Cordel.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

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