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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66939
Recording details: November 1993
All Saints, Petersham, United Kingdom
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: March 1997
Total duration: 10 minutes 52 seconds

'Leslie Howard's mammoth trek through Liszt's complete piano compositions and transcriptions (also for Hyperion) marks him out as a pianist quite undaunted by the super-virtuosic, but he employs his virtuosity entirely for the tasteful interpretation of the music' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Much stirring music, some unexpected delicacies, and generally walloping performances' (The Observer)

'Powerful performances of great advocacy in exemplary sonics' (Classic CD)

'I am happy to have heard these beautifully recorded, fully convincing performances by a pianist with a rich sound and ample technique who believes in what he is doing. The warm, clear recorded sound and Howard's playing make this the Tchaikovsky piano disc to acquire' (Fanfare, USA)

'Un disque unique en son genre et absolument splendide' (Répertoire, France)

'Hay que referirse al extraordinario rigor y sensibilidad musical de Howard: precisión, equilibrio, brillantez, fraseo amplio y cálido, riqueza expresiva' (Scherzo, Spain)

Sonata in F minor 'No 1'
1863/4; completed by Leslie Howard

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
We do not know either the reason for the first sonata’s genesis, or that for its being abandoned incomplete and untitled; but the remaining torso is well worth rescuing—indeed, the material is every bit as strong as that of the C sharp minor work of the following year. The F minor movement first appeared (entitled Allegro) in the old Russian collected edition of Tchaikovsky’s works, with a great many editorial suggestions relating to missing accidentals, but also with numerous errors: misreadings, slips of the pen and uncorrected engraving mistakes. Tchaikovsky’s manuscript consists of 172 bars of music: a sonata exposition without introduction, and with a first-time bar leading to its repetition. The manuscript breaks off at an advanced stage of the development section. The present completion involved constructing a short return to the principal theme, the reworking of the transition and some slight varying of the second subject, and the writing of a short coda from a cancelled transition passage in Tchaikovsky’s manuscript, with a nod to the coda of another early Tchaikovsky piece, the Scherzo à la russe, Op 1 No 1. The aim throughout was, of course, to add as little new material as possible. The completed sonata movement, which runs to 338 bars of music lasting about ten minutes in performance, makes available to the public the work of a confident young Tchaikovsky whose rhetorical gestures and melodic lyricism anticipate the personal trademarks of the mature master. (Tchaikovsky adapted the second theme of this work to serve as the trio section of his Scherzo, Op 2 No 2.)

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1997

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