Hyperion Records

Berceuse, Op 83
The choice of title here and the lilting character of the triple rhythm, combined with intermittent quasi-improvisatory arabesque, suggest initially an intended homage to Chopin’s solitary essay in the genre. However, the earlier part of the piece contains transient hints of Ravelian harmony, as does the gently mesmeric insistence on various pedal points heard as repeated off-beat monotones (perhaps an anodyne transformation of that device as heard in ‘Le Gibet’ from Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit?). At times the ambience resembles also that of the mature Arnold Bax, Bowen’s student friend and contemporary at the RAM, whose Fourth Sonata (written some six years later) embodies a similar conception in its slow movement. The dynamic level remains restrained throughout.

from notes by Francis Pott © 1996

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