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Track(s) taken from CDA67651/2

Phantasy in F major, Op 54

31 May 1918; first performed at Wigmore Hall, London, on 6 December 1918 by Lionel Tertis and Samuel Liddle (Bowen being ill)

Lawrence Power (viola), Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)
Recording details: November 2007
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: July 2008
Total duration: 13 minutes 32 seconds

Cover artwork: Sunrise by the Red Trees by Romy Ragan
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Bowen's music … is full of surprises and of a harmonic language and idiom peculiarly his own … both CDs are beautifully planned … and the performances could hardly be more glowing. Bowen's writing for both instruments is more than demanding yet nothing detracts from Lawrence Power's and Simon Crawford-Phillips's enviable fluency and achievement. Once again Hyperion hits the jackpot in a much-needed revival and the sound and balance are exemplary' (Gramophone)

'Following his successful recording of Bowen's Concerto, Lawrence Power turns to this repertoire with similar technical ease, and persuasively idiomatic tempo inflections and portamenti' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The music of the hugely prolific York Bowen is enjoying something of a renaissance … his long association with England's great champion of the viola, Lionel Tertis, produced some signficant sonatas, romances and rhapsodies which see the light of day again in this recording. Lawrence Power's gorgeous dark red tone is perfect for this repertoire' (The Observer)

'What a delicious recording … the two sonatas are fully persuasive from their first notes, each blessed with a sixth sense for Bowen's overarching structure. Power pulls new colours from his instrument with irrepressible bravura, while never losing a kindliness for the more intimate moments that … are as stylistically imperative as the grander apotheoses that call to mind Rachmaninov, Chopin or Debussy … the writing is quite masterful in its alchemy of structure and emotion and the performances are exquisitely balanced, refined and mindful of the elegiac character that broadly underpins the work … with music-making of this calibre, who can predict the summit of York Bowen's renewed celebrity? Bravo!' (International Record Review)

'All the pieces show Bowen's love of the instrument's capacity to unfold long-limbed, rhapsodic melodies … Lawrence Power's richly expressive moulding of them is a rare treat in itself' (The Guardian)

'The two viola sonatas of 1905 and 1906 are clearly inspired by the romantic style of Brahms's late sonatas for clarinet and viola. They are worthy successors, at least when played with the sumptuous tone, passionate convinction and supreme technical address that Power lavishes on them here. Even finer are the two single-movement pieces … Crawford-Phillips relishes the bravura of Bowen's writing for the piano in this superbly executed set, unlikely to be equalled very soon' (The Sunday Times)

'Power, the first British winner of the William Primrose International Viola Competition, now returns to this cherishable area of the repertoire with equally stunning results. Accompanied by Crawford-Phillips, Lawrence's fabulous combination of tonal seductiveness and technical wizardry works wonders in the bold expressive outlines of the two sonatas. Yet it is the heart-warming, stand-alone pieces (many recorded here for the first time) … that make this release truly indispensable. Another Hyperion winner' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Violist Lawrence Power and pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips touch the nerve centers of this music and convey its subtle flavors and fragrances. The recording is up to Hyperion’s high standard' (Fanfare, USA)

'The viola … has no better exponent than Lawrence Power … we must be very grateful that his music is now in wide circulation again … a real discovery' (Liverpool Daily Post)

'Lawrence Power, surely one of the finest viola players of today, and Simon Crawford-Phillips play magnificently and as one in this excellent survey of Bowen’s works for viola and piano. Hyperion’s recording, made at Potton Hall, is outstanding, and the set is recommended without reservation' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Composers whose rich romanticism was out of favour among 20th-century pundits who favoured angular austerity are finally receiving their due. Bowen believed the viola sounded more attractive than the violin and has a persuasive advocate in Power' (Classical Music)
Bowen’s virtuosic and romantic Phantasy in F major Op 54, is dated 31 May 1918. Tertis gave the premiere of this single-movement work soon after the armistice, at Wigmore Hall on 6 December, but Bowen was ill and the piano was played by Samuel Liddle. Later it was taken up by the French viola player Paul-Louis Neuberth, whose performance at Wigmore Hall in London at the end of October 1924 was erroneously announced as the premiere. Like almost all Bowen’s viola music it was written for Lionel Tertis, and it again shows what a amazing virtuoso he must have been in his prime. Bowen’s well-constructed music can easily bed down into a bland, somewhat Brahmsian contentment, and it needed Tertis’s fire to bring it to life. Even so, this music is more technically difficult than its approachable surface sometimes suggests, and particularly when Bowen was in thrall to Tertis he was uninhibited by limitations of technique.

The F major Phantasy was a Cobbett prize-winner in the year of its composition, 1918. Once again Bowen’s typical arch-structure creates an extended single movement, with the Poco adagio slow section presenting the composer’s big tune before the Allegro vivo of his vigorous finale, making a work that is comparable in scale to Bowen’s sonatas in his viola output.

from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2008

Virtuose et romantique, la Phantasy en fa majeur op. 54 de Bowen est datée du 31 mai 1918. Le 6 décembre, peu après l’armistice, Tertis créa cette œuvre en un seul mouvement au Wigmore Hall mais Bowen, malade, fut remplacé au piano par Samuel Liddle. Plus tard, elle fut reprise par l’altiste français Paul-Louis Neuberth, lors d’un concert au Wigmore Hall, à la fin du mois d’octobre 1924, où ce fut par erreur qu’on annonça la création de l’œuvre. Conçue pour Lionel Tertis (comme presque toutes les pièces pour alto de Bowen), elle nous montre, une fois encore, quel virtuose étonnant ce dernier dut être dans la fleur de l’âge. La musique bien construite de Bowen peut s’installer dans un contentement fade, un rien brahmsien, et il fallait tout le feu de l’altiste pour l’amener à la vie. Même ainsi, elle est techniquement plus difficile que son apparente accessibilité ne le suggère parfois—lorsqu’il servait Tertis, Bowen n’était réfréné par aucune limite technique.

La Phantasy en fa majeur remporta le prix Cobbett en 1918, année de sa composition. On y retrouve la structure en arche qui fond les éléments des trois ou quatre mouvements d’une sonate en un seul, la section lente Poco adagio présentant la grande mélodie du compositeur avant l’Allegro vivo du vigoureux finale, pour une œuvre d’une envergure comparable à celle des sonates pour alto de Bowen.

extrait des notes rédigées par Lewis Foreman © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Bowens virtuose, romantische Phantasy in F-Dur op. 54 ist mit 31. Mai 1918 datiert. Tertis gab die Premiere dieses einsätzigen Werks in der Wigmore Hall kurz nach dem Waffenstillstand am 6. Dezember, aber Bowen war indisponiert, und Samuel Liddle spielte Klavier. Später nahm der französische Bratscher Paul-Louis Neuberth das Werk in sein Repertoire auf, dessen Aufführung in der Wigmore Hall in London Ende Oktober 1924 irrtümlich als seine Uraufführung angekündigt wurde. Doch wie fast alle Bratschenmusik von Bowen wurde es für Lionel Tertis geschrieben, und zeigt wiederum, was für ein erstaunlicher Virtuose er in seinen besten Jahren gewesen sein muss. In Bowens fein konstruierte Musik kann sich leicht eine eher fade Brahmsiche Genügsamkeit einschleichen, und sie brauchte Tertis’ Feuer um sie zum Leben zu erwecken. Diese Musik stellt höhere Ansprüche an die Technik als ihre oberflächliche Zugänglichkeit andeutet, und besonders wenn Bowen unter Tertis’ Einfluss schrieb, war er von keinerlei Grenzen der Technik eingeschränkt.

Die F-Dur-Phantasy war ein Cobbett-Preisträger im Jahr ihrer Komposition, 1918. Hier finden wir die typische Bogenform, die die Elemente der drei oder vier Sätze einer Sonate in einen zusammenfasst; der langsame Abschnitt, Poco adagio, stellt die große Melodie des Komponisten vor, und das Allegro vivo ist sein lebhaftes Finale, was das Werk in seinem Ausmass den Sonaten in Bowens Œuvre für Viola vergleichbar macht.

aus dem Begleittext von Lewis Foreman © 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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