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Herbert Howells, Music for Clavichord (PFCD 065/66)

Performed on clavichord by Julian Perkins

Herbert Howells, Music for Clavichord CD

Prima Facie Records is pleased to announce the imminent release of 'Herbert Howells Music for Clavichord' (PFCD065/66) performed on clavichord by Julian Perkins. The two CDs contain all Howells’s published music for clavichord: Lambert’s Clavichord Op. 41 (HH 165) and Howells’ Clavichord (HH 237) Books I and II.

This is the first complete recording on clavichord of this music. Lambert's Clavichord and a selection of eight pieces from Howells’ Clavichord were recorded on clavichord by Ruth Dyson (1917-1997) and released on an LP in 1981. This new recording is dedicated to her memory in her centenary year.

Writing about the music of Lambert’s Clavichord in 1928, Sir Richard Terry observed: “Mr Howells has absorbed all the wealth and variety of Tudor rhythms, but keeps his own individuality intact. His music is modern inasmuch as he uses chords and progressions unknown in Tudor times, but the spirit of the old composers is there all the while. In other words, he and his instruments are one.”

A favourite pupil of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Herbert Howells (1892-1983) studied at the Royal College of Music in London. The compositions of his early maturity received much critical acclaim, but a hostile reception of his second piano in 1925 led to a period of uncertainty and relative compositional inactivity. The composing of Lambert’s Clavichord in 1926/27 proved to be a restorative influence. After WW1, with the exception of the symphony and opera, he continued to compose in most musical forms, contributing especially significantly to church music. In 1979 he retired from the teaching staff of the Royal College of Music in London after fifty-nine years. He was also in constant demand as a highly discerning and constructive adjudicator.

Described as ‘exuberantly stylish’ by the Sunday Times, Julian Perkins enjoys a demanding career as a keyboard player and conductor. He is the Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and Founder Director of Sounds Baroque. His acclaimed discography includes J. S. Bach’s French Suites on clavichord and the world première of Stephen Dodgson’s clavichord suites. Julian read music at King’s College, Cambridge, before pursuing advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum, Basle and the Royal Academy of Music, London.


Prima Facie

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Alan Rawsthorne : A Portrait (PFCD063) £12.50 More Details

Woodwind concertos and chamber works

The recordings of three of the works on this disc, the Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello (No.1), Studies on a Theme by Bach for string trio, together with the Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra, were included on a CD released by ASC in 2002. This disc is no longer available, and as the Quartet and the Studies were the first and only available recordings, and there is presently only one other available recording of the Oboe Concerto, it was considered that a re-release would be welcome and worthwhile. The original coupling was with two of Rawsthorne’s choral works, but rather than repeat this it was decided to include new recordings of further chamber music and the Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra. In the case of the Clarinet Concerto this provided an opportunity to include the premiere recording of the published, original ending, but with the medium of the CD it has also been possible to include the revised ending, so either version can be programmed and listened to. Though there are already recordings of the Sonata for Cello and Piano available, it is such a fine and important work that a further interpretation is more than justified. The very attractive arrangement of Brother James’s Air, also for cello and piano, is a premiere recording. “A Most Eloquent Music”, from the incidental music Rawsthorne composed for the 1961 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet, has been included on a CD released by the RSC, but the recording is introduced into this programme also – it is, after all, the year in which the four- hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is being commemorated.


The Complete Piano Works of John McCabe Volume 1 (PFCD055) £12.50 More Details

Jane Ford - piano

Three Impromptus for Piano (1959): i
Three Impromptus for Piano (1959): ii
Three Impromptus for Piano (1959): iii
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Capriccio
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Aria
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Elegia
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Toccata
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Notturno
Paraphrase on 'Mary, Queen of Scots' (Study No 5) (1979) Prelude
Paraphrase on 'Mary, Queen of Scots' (Study No 5) (1979) Fugue
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Swans at Stratford
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) On the beach
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Champagne Waltz
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Sports car
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) A game of darts
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Forlane
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) The artful dodger
Lamentation Rag (1982)
Snowfall in Winter (Study No. 9 Homage à Debussy) (2003)
Tunstall Chimes (Study No. 10 Homage à Ravel) (2004)
Epithalamium (Study No. 11 Homage to Mussorgsky) (2006)
Berceuse (2011)

John McCabe's contribution to 20th and 21st Century music in every genre except the grandest of opera is hard to overvalue, for its variety, quality and boundless invention within a consistent self-contained aesthetic. It is often thoughtful or delicate but can achieve great, organically generated, expressive force, seen nowhere more clearly than in the keyboard works. The piano music overall is a hugely rewarding treasure house for performers interested in contemporary repertoire: it contains things that disturb, things that beguile, things that intrigue, things of complexity, things of startling simplicity and virtuosic tours-de-force. While never holding back from making great demands on players' technique or relishing sonoric possibilities, bravura writing is the outcome of thematic development or structural working rather than indulgence in gratuitous pyrotechnics. The greatest masterpieces, are broad in outline, meticulous in detail; the lightest trifles effective and engaging; all are original in concept, technicality and articulation, distinguished by clarity of vision, process and expression, powerful without rhetoric or light without triviality. The commonality of intent in McCabe's kaleidoscopic expressive range lies not in the genre - he was not a slave to genre - but in the mind and imagination of the composer.

Described by the ‘Times’ as ‘gifted’ and by ‘Music and Vision Magazine’ as ‘spellbinding’, Jane Ford is a musician of both passion and sensitivity. Her extensive performing career has included performances throughout Britain and abroad, at venues such as the Palau de la Musica (Valencia), the Palais D’Alan (France) and in London: St John’s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Purcell Room, where she performed a World Premiere. Jane regularly appears as soloist for concertos, and in recent years has performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, all 5 Beethoven Concertos and Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Concerto with the St. John’s Festival Orchestra in Chester. Jane has won numerous prizes at International competitions and broadcast on both television and radio, including a recital for BBC radio 3.


 

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CD label featuring world premières by British composers.

Stephen
Prima Facie is the meeting of two minds - Giles Easterbrook and Stephen Plews - both known in the music industry as champions of new music. They have produced or promoted hundreds of projects, many of which have won awards or been recognised as outstanding contributions to the arts.

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