Ronald Stevenson and Friends (PFCD202)
Music by Ronald Stevenson, Percy Grainger, Wilma Paterson, John Purser, David Johnson & Edward McGuire
A celebration of the 80th birthday of recorderist John Turner, April 2023
1. Country Gardens, [01:08] for two recorders (descant and treble) Percy Grainger
2. A Year Owre Young, [05:33} for soprano and violin Ronald Stevenson
3. To Autumn, [03:51] for soprano and recorder Ronald Stevenson
4-6. Celtic Triptych, for solo recorder Ronald Stevenson
Slow Air [02:39]; Strathspey (Scottish Dance) [03:30}; Twelve-note jig (Giga dodecafonica) [03:25]
7-11. A Wee Holiday Suite, for recorder and piano. Ronald Stevenson
Bipo’s Dance [00:44]; A Balow for a Balough [00:42]; Bipo’s sleepo [01:46]; Ulla’s and Ella’s Veranda-Hike [00:41]; Bipo’s ear-pop [00:17]
12-16. Little Cynical Songs, for soprano and tenor recorder Wilma Paterson
Nostalgia for Sweet Friendship [00:47]; The Little Goddess Pan [00:38]; Torch Song for Dead Love [01:38]; Weave me [00:46]; Happy Ending Song [00:55] (words by Joan Ure).
17. Skye Blue, [04:22] for solo recorder John Purser
18-23. Preludes and Fugues for piano (from Twelve Preludes and Fugues for piano) David Johnson
Nos. 1 in B Flat [03:59 & 02:24], 6 in G [03:35 & 03:27], and 8 in F [02:34 & 02:38]
24-26. Three Improvisations on Themes by Emanuel Moor, for solo recorder Ronald Stevenson
Allegro Moderato [00:36]; Tempo di Minuetto grazioso [01:00]; Andante - Tempo di Valse - Alla gavotta - Alla giga [01:54]
27-28 Two songs to poems by William Soutar, for soprano and piano. Ronald Stevenson
Hallowe’en Sang [01:58]; The Quiet Comes In [02:14]
29. Prelude 29, [03:37] for solo treble recorder Edward McGuire
30. Over the Hills and Far Away [00:54] (Children’s March), for two descant recorders and piano Percy Grainger arr. Ronald Stevenson
31. Country Gardens, [01:40] for two recorders (two descant recorders) Percy Grainger
"This is a splendid programme. The repertoire is original and interesting. All performances are superb. Special mention must be made of John Turner’s fine playing on the recorder and of Lesley-Jane Rogers’s beautiful, clear soprano voice. The recording compliments the performance." John France, MusicWeb International
"Many pieces on this album are no more than a minute or two in length but each gives us a delightful insight into Stevenson’s world... The recordings are outstanding in capturing every nuance of the songs and solo pieces, and clearly heard as if we were in the first row of seats in the concert hall." Gregor Tassie, MusicWeb International
This CD celebrates the Scottish, but Blackburn born, composer Ronald Stevenson, best known for his piano music (he was himself a virtuoso pianist), but his enormous work list spans most genres except opera, and this disc includes all his works for recorder, interspersed with some of his songs in widely divergent styles with piano and instrumental accompaniment. His Scottish composer friends were legion, and this disc includes music by several of them, David Johnson, John Purser, Wilma Paterson and Eddie McGuire. His overseas friends were many, and notably included Grainger, some of whose music Stevenson arranged for various instruments. Grainger himself made two entrancing versions of the well known and much loved Country Gardens for recorders, at his friend Balfour Gardiner’s house, which bookend this disc, and have not previously been heard.
John Turner, March 2023
Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano)
John Turner (recorder) (all tracks with recorder)
Laura Robinson (recorder) (tracks 1, 30 & 31)
Benedict Holland (violin)
Harvey Davies (piano) (tracks 7-11, 27-28 & 30)
Duncan Honeybourne (tracks 18-23)
Notes on the music (unless otherwise indicated) Ⓟ & © John Turner 2023
Prima Facie gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Marjorie Stevenson, Gerda Stevenson, Lady Judy Steel, John Purser, Wilma Paterson, Edward Maguire and Martin Johnson in connection with this recording.
Thanks also to the Douglas Steele Foundation and the Pitfield Trust for their financial assistance.
Recorded at Heaton Moor Studios, Stockport on various dates in 2022.
Preludes and Fugues by David Johnson recorded and produced by Steve Plews at Holy Trinity Church, Hereford, July 17th 2022.
Cover illustration of manuscript courtesy of John Turner.
Album produced by Steve Plews.
For more details of this recording, please see the sleeve notes on the Prima Facie blog, Recitative
is one of the leading recorder players of today. Born in Stockport, he was Senior Scholar in Law at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge before pursuing a legal career, acting for many distinguished musicians and musical organisations (including the Halle Orchestra, the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain), alongside his many musical activities. These included numerous appearances and recordings with David Munrow's Early Music Consort of London, the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin- in-the-Fields and the English Baroque Soloists. He now devotes his time to playing, writing, reviewing, publishing, composing and generally energising. He has played as recorder soloist with the Halle Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata, the English Baroque Soloists, the English Chamber Orchestra, and many other leading orchestras and ensembles. Lately he has made numerous acclaimed recordings of the recorder’s contemporary concerto and chamber music repertoire, including four solo concerto discs, all of which have received critical acclaim. In all, he has given the first performances of over 600 works for the recorder. Many of the works he has premiered have now entered the standard repertoire, and these and his own recorder compositions are regularly set for festivals and examinations. He edits series of recorder publications for both Forsyths and Peacock Press, and founded the periodical Manchester Sounds, in response to the perceived threat to music libraries in Great Britain. In addition he was responsible for the rediscovery of several works for his instrument, including the Rawsthorne Recorder Suite, Antony Hopkins' Pastiche Suite, Herbert Murrill’s Sarabande, the Handel F Major Trio Sonata and John Parry's Nightingale Rondo (the only substantial known British nineteenth century work for a fipple flute). He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Northern College of Music in 2002 for his services to British music, and is a Visiting Distinguished Scholar of Manchester University.