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Prima Facie

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Scenes from Childhood (PFCD224) CD £12.50/£17.50

Piano Works by Pedro Faria Gomes – Kenneth Hamilton, piano

Region

SUITE J [40:50]

1. I. Preludio [3:31]
2. II. Toccata [4:02]
3. III. Rondò [2:00]
4. IV. Corrente [4:46]
5. V. Recitativo [2:30]
6. VI. Trittico: Ricercare, Canone e Coda [5:51]
7. VII. Interludio (Dittico) [2:57]
8. VIII. Bordone [2:41]
9. IX. Ritornello [4:22]
10. X. Sarabanda [8:10]

SONATINA [12:58]

11. I. Procissão [Procession] [4:27]
12. II. Canção de Embalar [Lullaby] [3:04]
13. III. Dança [Dance] [5:27]

Total [54:05]

CD cover painting of two children on trail through mountains

Reviews

“Hamilton’s playing is superb…The recording is excellent. Pedro Faria Gomes’ music is definitely worth seeking out.” Colin Clarke, Fanfare

"Two of the most remarkable compositions to come out of the pandemic. Hamilton is a major contributor to the album’s success…[he] offers restrained yet sensitive readings that let the details in Gomes’ music emerge naturally. A wonderful offbeat find from the small Prima Facie label that made classical best-seller charts in early 2024." James Manheim, All Music

About this disc

Few things could have prepared society for the global pandemic that gripped the world from 2020–21. From that darkness, however, there emerged numerous avenues for creative reflection. Musicians suddenly had a lot of time on their hands, and an opportunity to develop their art in new and ambitious directions. During this period, Portuguese composer Pedro Faria Gomes, whose imaginative and communicative music combines clear originality with a confident respect for tradition, turned to the piano. His initial idea was to write a variation on two sets of four notes. Faria shared the resulting movement with pianist Kenneth Hamilton, his colleague at Cardiff University School of Music. Hamilton was impressed with the piece, and a plan evolved to compose a more elaborate work. This developed into the ten movement, strikingly thought-provoking Suite J—the ‘J’ refers to Faria’s daughter Joana—recorded for the first time on this disc.

A little while later, Faria’s second child, Daniel, was born. This in turn was the inspiration for the charmingly witty Sonatina, a gracefully concise companion piece to the Suite, also conceived to be premiered and recorded by Kenneth Hamilton. Both works pay heartfelt homage to historical genres—the Baroque Suite, the Classical Sonatina—while drawing inspiration from a web of allusion and quotation more redolent of the Romantic piano music of Robert Schumann. Accordingly, the title of the album—Scenes from Childhood—is gratefully borrowed from Schumann’s collection of the same name. This is nevertheless no Album for the Young, rather a nostalgically adult reflection on early childhood, and a moving, modern meditation on the music of earlier eras.

Credits

Recorded at Cardiff University School of Music on 4-5 February and 22 July 2023
Piano: Steinway Model D (Hamburg)
Piano Preparation: Ulrich Gerhartz
Piano Tuning: Gavin Crooks
Recording Producer: Steve Plews
Recording Editor: Phil Hardman
Publisher: Pedro Faria Gomes
Cover Image: Edvard Munch “Two Children on their Way to the Fairytale Forest”, (1901–1902).
Photo: Munchmuseet / Juri Kobayashi
Booklet Notes: David Beard and Kenneth Hamilton
Artwork: Simon Crosby Buttle
This recording has been kindly supported by Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores (Fundo Cultural) and Cardiff University

You can read more about this disc on the Prima Facie blog

Pedro Faria Gomes

Pedro Faria Gomes

The music of Pedro Faria Gomes has been praised for its ‘high calibre of imagination and workmanship’, showing a ‘fine and original new voice’ (Gapplegate Classical), and for ‘immediately capturing the listener’ (Kathodik). His Chamber Works album (Naxos, 2020) has been critically acclaimed, with Records International highlighting his ‘fine sense of the subtleties of instrumental colour’.

Faria’s works are regularly commissioned, performed, recorded and broadcast internationally. Recordings of his music are available on prestigious labels such as Naxos, Prima Facie, Centaur Records, Casa da Música, Numérica, GDA and Compasso. Recognition for his work has included the PRS Sir Arthur Bliss Memorial Award (UK), the Lopes-Graça Prize, and the SPA Prémio Autores 2020 (Portugal).

Kenneth Hamilton

Kenneth Hamilton Described by the Moscow Kommersant as “an outstanding virtuoso—one of the finest players of his generation”, by Tom Service in the Guardian as “pianist, author, lecturer and all-round virtuoso”, and by Stefan Pieper in Klassik Heute as a “pianist, scholar, radical thinker and philosopher”, Kenneth Hamilton is well-known as a recitalist and recording artist of emotional depth and striking originality. His CDs have attracted both critical acclaim and a large number of listeners worldwide. His best-selling After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance (Oxford University Press) is one of the most internationally influential books on Classical music performance, and has been translated into Italian, Hungarian and Mandarin.

Hamilton’s recordings of music by Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Grainger, Godowsky, Stevenson, Casken, and many others have enjoyed outstanding reviews: “played with understanding and brilliance” (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review); “this is real music-making, not subservient reciting from a sacred text (Ralph Locke, Arts Fuse); “imaginative and ingenious...Hamilton’s playing is up there with the best of Chopin interpreters” (Dr Chang Tou Liang, Singapore Straits Times). Volume 1 of Hamilton’s Liszt series, a double-CD instalment entitled Death and Transfiguration, was a Gramophone “Best Classical Album of 2022”, a Recording of the Week on BBC Radio 3, and a Music Web International Recommended Recording. Volume 2, Salon and Stage, reached no.3 in the UK Classical Charts, was Classical CD of the Week in the Guardian, and an AllMusic Classical Highlight for 2023. Gramophone described it as “engrossing... Hamilton once more emerges as a born Lisztian in his unforced virtuosity”.