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in C major of 1904, the first of four written during his early years of relative celebrity, remained unpublished until issued by the Anglo-French Music Company in 1919.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