The Suite Mignonne
is the fourth of Bowen’s five (many other sets of miniatures would qualify equally for the title). The Moto perpetuo
succeeds a Prelude and a Valse and preserves their attractive lightness of compositional touch. Again a passing resemblance may be pertinent: among the composers said by Watson to have been admired by Bowen is Frank Bridge (presumably through knowledge only of the latter’s more accessible works before the late 1920s). Bridge’s brief mood piece Fireflies
, written in April 1917, post-dates the Suite Mignonne
by two years and is directly comparable in figuration and harmonic resource. It seems entirely possible that the sheer pianistic elegance and ‘inside knowledge’ of Bowen’s writing may regularly have placed composers of lesser performing accomplishments in his unacknowledged debt, though the formidable pianism of Bax here excepts him. In wider terms the Moto perpetuo
extends the nineteenth-century ‘encore’ tradition typified by the ‘humoresque’ style of Moszkowski and others.
from notes by Francis Pott © 1996