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Hyperion Records

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The Icknield Way (1912) by Spencer Frederick Gore (1878-1914)
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67827
Recording details: December 2010
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: June 2011
Total duration: 11 minutes 21 seconds

'Here is a disc to warm the hearts and minds of those who treasure romantic nostalgia … Benjamin Dale's hugely ambitious and unwieldy Piano Sonata is assuredly not for lovers of economy … it is doubtful that [the sonata] has ever been played with a more shining commitment than by Danny Driver. His performance ranges from thundering rhetoric to a whispering poetic delicacy … a pianist of such magical warmth and finesse … Hyperion's sound and presentation are as immaculate as ever … this issue is as moving as it is superlative' (Gramophone)

'Danny Driver's stylish and immaculate playing makes an outstanding case for some technically demanding music. One for English music aficionados' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Shades of Liszt and Wagner haunt the Piano Sonata completed in 1905 by the English composer Benjamin Dale, but this is more to do with matters of harmony, texture and the odd reminiscence than with any wholesale aping. Danny Driver’s superb performance shows a confident composer, imaginative in sustaining a span of 45 minutes' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Driver brings a stunning brilliance … with a performance of this calibre, a brilliant recording quality from Hyperion and an unjustly neglected work, I can't but nominate this release in any case' (International Record Review)

'Driver posssesses an unerring sense of direction, while enabling the music to sound almost improvised. The grandeur of the finale is perfeclty conveyed. Competition comes from Paul Jacobs (Continuum) and Mark Bebbington (Somm). Neither version boasts the excellent of Hyperion's recording. Driver is the most exciting of the players, too … a fabulous performance' (International Piano)

'Danny Driver [is] technically superb, he has the gift of innate musicanship that illuminates the music's every twist and turn' (Yorkshire Post)

'Danny Driver rises seemingly effortlessly to the fearsome challenges of the piece and produces a performance highlighting the shape of the work' (Audiophile)

Miniature Suite in C major, Op 14
composer
1904; movement 1 is dedicated to Benjamin Dale; first published by the Anglo-French Music Company in 1919

Humoresque  [3'03]
Nocturne  [5'20]
Scherzo: Finale  [2'58]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Bowen’s disarmingly attractive Miniature Suite in C major of 1904, the first of four written during his early years of relative celebrity, remained unpublished until issued by the Anglo-French Music Company in 1919. The ‘English Rachmaninov’ sobriquet with which Bowen was saddled later is especially inappropriate to these three urbane movements, whose pianistic dress recalls first the valse caprice idiom of Johann Strauss-transcribers such as Tausig and Schulz-Evler, then the nocturne and Liebestraum manner of Chopin and Liszt. The title Humoresque would have been no less suitable for the finale, a light-fingered toccatina which, pianissimo, accelerates towards the end before vanishing as abruptly as a conjuror’s handkerchief.

from notes by Francis Pott © 2011

Other albums featuring this work
'Hyperion monthly sampler – August 2014' (HYP201408)
Hyperion monthly sampler – August 2014
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