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Bowen: Piano Music Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, May 1, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

24 Préludes, op. 102 (n°1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21 & 22) - Ballade n°2, op.87 - Sonate n°5, op.72 - Berceuse, op.83 - Moto perpetuo (de l'op.39) - Toccata, op.155 - Romances n°1, op.35 & n°2, op.45 / Stephen Hough, piano

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 1 In C major
  2. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 2 In C minor
  3. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 10 In E minor
  4. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 7 In E flat major
  5. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 8 In E flat minor
  6. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 22 In B flat minor
  7. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 21 In B flat major
  8. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 15 In G major
  9. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 16 In G minor
  10. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 6 In D minor
  11. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 19 In A major
  12. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 20 In A minor
  13. 24 Preludes In All Major And Minor Keys Op 102: No 18 In G sharp minor
  14. Ballade No 2 Op 87
  15. Sonata No 5 In F minor Op 72: Moderato
  16. Sonata No 5 In F minor Op 72: Andate semplice
  17. Sonata No 5 In F minor Op 72: Allegro con fuoco - Più lento - Più mosso e con fuoco
  18. Berceuse Op 83
  19. Moto perpetuo from Op 39
  20. Toccata Op 155
  21. Romance No 1 Op 35 No 1
  22. Romance No 2 Op 45


Product Details

  • Performer: Stephen Hough
  • Composer: York Bowen
  • Audio CD (May 1, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: HYPERION
  • ASIN: B000002ZX4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,399 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on October 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD
York Bowen's name has been familiar to me since I was a child. It used to appear on the cover of books of pieces set for piano examinations. I just assumed that he must be someone frightfully famous, and I have never known the first thing about him until now. The liner-note with this outstanding disc goes about promoting him in exactly the right way so far as I'm concerned. Firstly the long essay by Francis Pott is knowledgeable, thoughtful and informative. In the second place there are individual paragraphs on each of the pieces making up the recital. Best of all, there is a combative contribution by Hough himself, laying about certain fashions and trends in music during the 20th century and in effect saying `good riddance'. I read very little musical journalism these days, but it's not the first time recently that I've seen this tone adopted, and there seems to be a new mood. I never myself thought it was unduly conservative or reactionary to think that a fair amount of avant-garde composition was really pretentious nonsense. However to call it a load of rubbish was just not done in enlightened circles. What seems to be happening now is that the enlightened circles have themselves come full circle and that once-sacrosanct essays in musical modernity now have an official and certified status as, well, a load of rubbish.

Time to dust off York Bowen in that case. Not all of his music even got into print, but what we have here is not only of good quality, it is of consistently good quality. I suppose the idiom could fairly be called early 20th century romantic. The harmonic style is tonal, and any flirting with whole-tone scales is minimal.
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Format: Audio CD
Before buying this CD my only knowledge of York Bowen's piano music was struggling with an "Albumleaf" as a youngster. I bought this record on the strength of "Gramophone's" recommendation, and was delighted with it. Hough's playing is absolute magic - a spectacular technique but always employed to serve the music, not his ego. The music itself is a revelation, "modern" for its time but not oppressively so. Listen to the excerpts from the 24 preludes to be astounded by Hough's piano mastery, but hear the two Romances which end this disk to get to the real heart of York Bowen's music. If they don't persuade you to part with your money, you have no soul!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I doubt if many people knew of York Bowen before the appearance of this recording. It is difficult to definitively describe his music: perhaps a bit of Rachmaninov and Debussy, a dash of Ravel and a hit of Chopin and Beethoven. At any rate, these are the composers that came to mind as I listened. But there also is the missing ingredient of York Bowen himself, for although his music may recall other composers his own way of writing is present.
Bowen was a fabulous pianist and it shows in these pieces covering various periods in his career and forms. The disc holds a selection of Preludes, a Ballade, a Toccata, a Moto Perpetuo and a Sonata. Stephan Hough plays beautifully and the recorded is balanced and clear. The notes are excellent in providing a look at the life of York Bowen and the background of the pieces on this disc. I knew about this CD but had not gotten around to buying it until recently. My advice is not to wait.
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This is wonderfully compelling piano music, Bowen has an original voice which he locates admirably within the Romantic language.Bowen lived when Listz was still a contemporary still harboring an air of pianistic innovation and conceptual challenge to locate a voice within this transitional period to modernity. Great Britain in many respects was insolated from the the dual revolutionary threats on the continent with the Stravinsky ballets score for the Diagaliev troup and the dodecaphonic innovations suggested with Schoenbergs chamber Pierrot Lunaire. Bowen's Preludes although written with a Bach scheme of Major to Minor Keys is indebted to the brilliance of Chopin. Yet Bowen's sense of lyricism is incredibly different,with less adventurous affinity than Chopin. Bowen's music always constitutes itself with a classical shaped length. There are no mere mists of textures, as Chopin's E-flat minor prelude. Bowen's music can grow and set up tremendous impassioned fury, with continuous momentum, yet Bowen knows the mysteries of his durational time. His music never extends itself beyond the structural frames his music implies or suggests. It is forever more powerful because of it. At more ambitious forms however as the Sonata in F minor, the movements work extremely well, the Exposition, the Moderato admirably proclaiming itself containing the second movement the beautifully introspective Andante semplice. The Berceuse as well finds an original lyrical scheme with fine nuanced pianisitic colours. Bowen's modernity constitutes itself with the delight in pure textural excursions, indeed within breathtaking virtuosic gestures, fast spellbinding arpeggios, surfacing the upper sonoric realms here. Bowen was also an accomplished horn and viola player. He played horn during the War in a Wind Band. Stephen Hough is brilliant with this music with a fine sense of architecture and control,yet reading Bowen's lyrical lines with sensitivity.
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