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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 39 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 ballade, Op 117 No 2
composer
also published as No 1 of Deux Ballades Op 117 (with an added minor-key introduction and the subtitle La mélodieuse)

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Deuxième Ballade Op 117 No 2 appeared elsewhere—with an added minor-key introduction, as well as the subtitle ‘La mélodieuse’—as No 1 of the Deux Ballades Op 117. Philip Martin plays the version without the introduction, so we have used the numbering adopted by that edition, both for this piece and for the ‘Première Ballade’ (which in the alternative edition is listed as No 2 and subtitled ‘L’harmonieuse’).

Listening blind to this Deuxième Ballade, one might reasonably guess its composer as Gottschalk. There is no doubt that Herz exerted a strong influence on the American boy wonder and the chromatic phrase immediately after the opening theme’s repeat is similar to passages in several of Gottschalk’s works. It is an altogether graceful confection with its cantabile espressivo melody (in B major) and its later runs of demisemiquavers requiring the most delicate touch and sensitive tonal discrimination. The cadenza is reminiscent of those in Mozart’s Fantasia in D minor, K397.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

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