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Sonatas by Andrew Downes  (PFCD241) £12.50/£17.50

David Daly Double Bass, Duncan Honeybourne Piano, Ondřej Vrabec French Horn, Daniel Wiesner Piano, Graham Walker Cello, David Trippett Piano
Available to pre-order


1-3 Sonata for Double Bass and Piano

I. Lento [6:50]
II. Allegro con fuoco [5:15]
III. Adagio e molto espressivo [6:02]

4-6 Sonata for Horn and Piano

I. Andante molto e espressivo [7:01]
II. Allegro moderato [7:14]
III. Andante leggiero [7:21]

7-9 Sonata for Cello and Piano

I. Moderato e drammatico [5:21]
II. Adagio e molto espressivo [9:13]
III. Allegro vivace [7:20]

Total Time [61.43]

abstract image incorporating musical instruments

About this Album

Sonata for Double Bass and Piano, Op.90 (2006)
Andrew's friend and pianist, Duncan Honeybourne suggested Andrew write a Double Bass Sonata for his recitals with David Daly, Principal Bass in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Duncan and David premiered the work at Christchurch Priory on June 14th 2007, as part of the Christchurch Festival.

Sonata for Horn and Piano, Op.68 (1998)
This work was commissioned by Roland Horvath, Horn player from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Roland was the founder of the Vienna Horn Society, of which James Lowe was a member. James Lowe, with American pianist, Ann Madison, gave the first performance of the work in the Theresianische Akademie in Vienna on 17th March 2001 and a second performance in a Salon Concert at the home of Roland Horvath in June 2001.

Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.86 (2001)
Having given a number of recitals with cellist, Sharon McKinley, Andrew's friend and pianist, Duncan Honeybourne suggested Andrew might be interested in writing a cello work for them to include in their concerts. The Sonata for Cello and Piano is very powerful, full of dramatic contrasts. Sharon and Duncan first performed it on March 23rd 2004 in the Birmingham Conservatoire Music Xtra Festival. Andrew had founded this Festival for his School of Creative Studies at the Conservatoire in 1992 and organised a week of concerts every year thereafter.


Sonata for Double Bass and Piano, Op.90 (2006)
Recorded in the Gransden Hall, Merritt Centre, Sherbourne School, July 14th, 2022.
David Daly Double Bass, Duncan Honeybourne Piano

Sonata for Horn and Piano, Op.68 (1998)
Recorded in the Rudolfinum, Prague, March 20th, 2022.
Ondřej Vrabec French Horn, Daniel Wiesner Piano

Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.86 (2001)
Recorded in West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, May 1st, 2022.
Graham Walker Cello, David Trippett Piano

Producer and engineer for tracks 1-3 and 7-9: Myles Eastwood
Sound Engineer for tracks 4-6: Oldřich Slezák
Producer for tracks 4-6: Markéta Janáčková
Mastering for all tracks: Myles Eastwood 

You can read the sleeve notes from this album on the Prima Facie blog, Recitative.

Andrew Downes

Andrew Downes head and shoulders smiling
Andrew Downes (1950-2023) was born in Handsworth, Birmingham, in 1950, into a well-known Midlands family of musicians. He won a choral scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he specialised in composition, and in 1974 went on to study at the Royal College of Music with Herbert Howells, who wrote of him as ‘one of the most effective composers coming to me these days. I have very considerable hopes for him’. His emergence as a leading international composer was combined with a strong academic profile as an innovative and inspired educator: he created and was Head of the School of Composition and Creative Studies at the Birmingham School of Music (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) for 30 years, and following his retirement, devoted himself solely to composition. His output included an opera, six symphonies, numerous concerti and chamber works, song cycles, piano music and a large body of choral and sacred music. Downes’s music has been performed in many leading concert halls, cathedrals and festivals worldwide, and has been broadcast on BBC Radios 2, 3 and 4, BBC TV, Czech Radio, France Musique, Italian TV, Austrian Radio, Dutch Radio and Central Peking Radio. Over 20 CDs of his music have been issued on a range of labels, plus a DVD of his opera Far from the Madding Crowd. His numerous commissions included The Marshes of Glynn, for the Royal Opening of Birmingham’s Adrian Boult Hall in 1986; the Overture In the Cotswolds for the opening concert of the Three Choirs Festival; song cycles for Sarah Walker and John Mitchinson, both premièred on BBC Radio 3; anthems for the BBC Radio 4 Daily Service; and the overture Towards a New Age, premièred by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Downes’s Concerto for Four Horns and Orchestra was commissioned for and premièred by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in the Dvorak Hall, Prague, in 2002, and recorded by Czech Radio the following year. His Sonata for Violin, Horn and Piano was premièred by the Brahms Trio Prague at the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, in 2008, and subsequently released internationally on the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Artesmon label. Downes’s Piano and Horn Concertos were premièred at Birmingham UK Town Hall in 2009 and 2012 respectively. Downes’s lyrical gift, with the inflections of the human voice ever discernible, places him squarely in the Late Romantic English tradition and renders him a worthy successor to Howells. So too does his contrapuntal ingenuity and textural athleticism, with the church music of the great Tudor masters frequently recalled. But the indigenous musics of other cultures, and jazz and rock music, are also treasured influences and reflect the depth of responsibility Downes felt as an educator to instruct and enthuse in a broad range of traditions, and not purely in western art music. The Violin Sonata, for instance, is based on Indian rāgas and incorporates striking rhythmic displacements and syncopations to brilliant effect. The Sonata for Double Bass and Piano, premiered by David Daly and Duncan Honeybourne at the Christchurch Priory Festival in 2007, broadly reflects a more pastoral English tradition, highlighting the lyrical qualities of this most overlooked of instruments and offering moments of great poignancy as well as playfulness.
Biography by Duncan Honeybourne