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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: 7 minutes 57 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)

Première ballade, Op 117 No 1
composer
also published as No 2 of Deux Ballades Op 117 (with the subtitle L'harmonieuse)

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Première Ballade Op 117 No 1, in D flat major, owes rather more to a Chopin nocturne than a Chopin ballade. After four introductory measures, Herz introduces a cantabile theme of a type familiar from the preceding Nocturnes, but this time given in octaves. It is sentimental, effective and not too difficult (though the more animated central section in F minor might give some pause), a prime example of the kind of work that made Herz’s music sell in unrivalled quantities in the 1830s and ’40s.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

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