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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55139
Recording details: May 1993
Seldon Hall, Haberdashers' Aske's School, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Steve Portnoi
Release date: November 1993
Total duration: 16 minutes 12 seconds

'Revelatory' (Gramophone)

'A delightful release … polished, impeccable performances. Very enjoyable' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Superb' (American Record Guide)

'Barritt and Edwards pour their hearts into this music which rewards them—and us—equally and in kind. A significant gap in the English chamber repertoire has been filled by this lovely release' (Fanfare, USA)

'Urgent exploration recommended' (CDReview)

Sonata No 1 in E major, Op 18
composer
1917/19

Allegro molto  [3'38]
Assai tranquillo  [3'21]

Introduction
The Sonata No 1 in E major, Op 18, has much in common with the later second Piano Concerto, formally; both are in one long span but divided into three ‘moods’ which correspond to normal movements of differing characters. The unusual thing is that Howells felt the whole structure in both works to be sonata-based, with themes common to all sections so that, while there were indeed exposition, development and recapitulation, these became considerably enlarged and developed to form the whole sections of the work. It is an original concept and must have required a considerable intellectual grasp and creative imagination to sustain logical thematic development over such a span.

This analytical discussion does little to persuade the reader of the merits of the piece beyond formal curiosity. Let his mind be put at rest! He will find a work of wonderful lyricism, of emotional power and intensity and a satisfying range of moods. As Howells’s first ‘professional’ foray into the medium (there is a very early violin sonata written in 1911 for his composition portfolio for entry to the RCM) it is a remarkable addition to the repertory.

from notes by Paul Spicer 1993

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