Solo Piano Music (2006-2015) (PFCD108) £12.50
Piano music by Richard Francis, performed by Duncan Honeybourne
Piano Sonata no.2 Irish Memories (2010)
1. Introduction: Nocturne – Sempre Adagio
2. Storm – Tempestuoso
3. Variations: Theme: Lento (Slane – Irish Folk Song, 1909) – Variation 1: Rigour – Variation 2: Tranquility – Variation 3: Aggression – Variation 4: Contemplation
4. Scherzo: Vivace ed animato
5. Finale – “Killiney Strand” (Air: Maggie Pickens): Allegro piquante
Grand Concert Variations on a theme of Greville Cooke (2015)
6. Theme (the hymn tune Golden Grove)
7. Variation 1: Fantasy
8. Variation 2: Two-Part Invention
9. Variation 3: March
10. Variation 4: Canon at the Octave
11. Variation 5: In the Manner of an Eclogue
12. Variation 6: Finale: Fugue in 3 parts
More Characteristic Pieces for Piano (2006-2015)
15. Painted Sky
16. Scales and Arpeggios (in modo di Czerny)
17. Seaside Jaunt
19. Folk Tune (Buckley Mug)
21. The Lost Garden
"[the Piano Sonata second movement] is excitingly virtuosic, its fast chiming chords and dizzying runs performed with great élan by the splendid solo pianist, Duncan Honeybourne." Alan Cooper, British Music Society
"The sound quality is beyond reproach... I thoroughly enjoyed this recital. Duncan Honeybourne is an unmistakably powerful advocate of Richard Francis's piano music. All the music here is approachable and easily enjoyed." John France, MusicWeb International
Prima Facie’s release of recent piano music by Richard Francis celebrates the craftsmanship, wit and eclecticism of this popular Shropshire composer, winner of the 2001 Gregynog International Composition Award. The disc comprises Francis’s complete solo piano output from the years 2006-2015, all played by its dedicatee, Duncan Honeybourne, whose previous Prima Facie discs - of piano music of Sadie Harrison and John Joubert - have met with critical acclaim.
Duncan Honeybourne plays here the 'Piano Sonata no.2 (Irish Memories)', with its references to Irish folk melodies, premiered in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, in 2011. The first movement evokes a Donegal storm whilst the second is a set of variations on the much-loved hymn tune Slane. The 'Grand Concert Variations' are inventive and virtuosic, while the set of 10 'More Characteristic Pieces' must surely contain something for everyone, ranging from the touching 'Evensong' to the rumbustious 'Seaside Jaunt'!
This attractive and varied disc was recorded on a Bosendorfer piano in the Ty Cerdd studio at Cardiff Bay, in April 2019.
Richard Francis graduated with distinction from the Birmingham School of Music (now the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) and studied composition with William Mathias at the University of North Wales, Bangor, where he was awarded an MMus degree. He was Organist of Ludlow Parish Church for 30 years and has given many recitals at home and abroad. Francis has developed a vibrant international profile as a composer, and is best known for his organ and choral works, many of which have been recorded to great critical acclaim. “I would gladly play or listen to any of the pieces”, wrote David Saint in Organists Review of a 2-disc set of Francis’s organ music recorded at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
Duncan Honeybourne enjoys a diverse profile as a pianist and in music education. His concerto debut in 1998 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and the National Concert Hall, Dublin, was broadcast on radio and television, and recital debuts included London, Paris, and international festivals in Belgium and Switzerland. Duncan has toured extensively as soloist and chamber musician, broadcasting frequently for the BBC and radio networks worldwide. His many recordings reflect his interest in 20th and 21st century British piano music. He is a Tutor in Piano at the University of Southampton.