Kenneth Hamilton plays Ronald Stevenson Vol 2 (PFCD107) £12.50
Kenneth Hamilton: piano
1. Keening Song for a Makar (in memoriam Francis George Scott) 7.19
2. Norse Elegy for Ella Nygard 6.01
3. Chorale-Pibroch for Sorley Maclean 6.11
4. Toccata-Reel: “The High Road to Linton” 2.31
5. Barra Flyting Toccata 1.32
6. Merrick/Stevenson: Hebridean Seascape 11.00
7. Little Jazz Variations on Purcell’s “New Scotch Tune” 5.03
8. Threepenny Sonatina (on Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera)* 5.51
9. Recitative and Air on DSCH 5.49
10. Bach/Stevenson: “Komm, süßer Tod” 3.41
11. Purcell/Stevenson: Hornpipe 3.02
12-14. Purcell/Stevenson: Three Grounds: Andante quasi Fado 2.25; Andante Arioso 2.47; Allegretto1.50
15. Purcell/Stevenson: Toccata 5.50
16. Purcell/Stevenson: The Queen’s Dolour (A Farewell) 3.03
"[Hamilton’s] first release of Stevenson’s music gained widespread attention in Germany and North America as well as in Britain. Stevenson’s music uses stylistic elements from the past, and his music fell out of favour with the modernist claque. In Hamilton’s hands, however, it’s clear that there’s not a bit of nostalgia or neo-Romanticism in Stevenson’s music… Stevenson seems to open up a vast new range of possibilities. His student’s performances may be taken as definitive for now." James Manheim, Allmusic
"I cannot fault the wonderful performance by Kenneth Hamilton of these works. The recording is always clear and bright. The entire programme is a subtle balance between original music and arrangements which well-reflects Stevenson’s achievement." John France, Music Web International
"Now we have the second volume of Kenneth Hamilton’s survey, volume one of which was very well received. It is easy to see why; Mr Hamilton is a fine pianist with a strong technique and rich tone that is able to colour Stevenson’s music with just the right hue… a wonderful introduction to a fascinating composer." Paul RW Jackson, British Music Society Journal.
"Ronald Stevenson...was a Romantic figure with a contemporary twist...there were, and certainly are now, admiring performers who have taken up the challenge his rhapsodic and virtuosic music requires. Kenneth Hamilton is one, having previously released Volume 1 of Stevenson’s Piano Music, following that up now with Volume 2, a range of works far less familiar than, say, such giants as the Passacaglia on DSCH. Many of these are quirky, flavoured with a folksy charm—the whimsical High Road to Linton, the Barra Flyting Toccata and Little Jazz Variations among them. Hamilton captures the eccentricity of Stevenson’s style in these and other miscellaneous works." Ken Walton, The Scotsman.
"What a delightful and entertaining disk this is!...Very persuasively played by Kenneth Hamilton, who studied with the composer." Henry Fogel, Fanfare.
"Grippingly fast-paced, refreshingly spontaneous and intuitively responsive playing…Artistic Quality 10/10." Stefan Pieper, Klassik Heute
"A well-constructed, varied recital…performed with commendable verve." Guy Rickards, International Piano Magazine
"As was the case for volume one of this survey of unique and compelling music, Kenneth Hamilton, who came to know the composer personally at the end of his life, plays with heart-warming conviction and emotional depth." Peter Burwasser, Fanfare
"Kenneth Hamilton has been rightly praised for his pianistic command of Stevenson’s many idioms...and for his scholarly command of the composer’s life and work…Solid engineering, too. A winner. Five stars: A fine introduction to Stevenson’s art." Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare
"As with Volume 1, this original, distinctive, well-written and extremely engrossing music is played supremely well by Stevenson’s pupil Kenneth Hamilton, who is, moreover, exceptionally well recorded…A disc which every music lover attracted to piano music of the last half-century and more will wish to possess. It is most comprehensively recommended from every angle. Five Stars." Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion
"Kenneth Hamilton…seems entirely attuned to this repertoire, which comes as no surprise, given his friendship and musical association with the composer… Hamilton’s booklet notes not only provide first-hand insights on the composer and these works but are as detailed and informative as you’d expect from one of Romantic pianism’s most knowledgeable scholars." Jed Distler, Gramophone
“Every volume in this series makes one itch for the next; beyond doubt, this is important work.” Colin Clarke, Fanfare
"This is a wonderful disc of late twentieth century piano music that any pianophile should love, especially when the playing is so good. Kenneth Hamilton also writes the excellent booklet notes giving a great personal insight into the composer, his music and playing style. The recorded sound is clear and bright, yet it also has a warmth and a natural feel... This disc is not just for devotees of British music, but will suit all lovers of piano music, highly recommended." Stuart Sillitoe, Music Web International
Following the outstanding acclaim offered to the first CD of this series, Prima Facie is proud to present Volume 2 of 'Kenneth Hamilton plays Ronald Stevenson'. Hamilton, a former student, friend and colleague of the composer, performs Stevenson’s music with “understanding and brilliance” (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review). Volume 2 features a riveting collection of Celtic pieces, including the coruscating 'Keening Sang for a Makar', Stevenson’s complete Purcell transcriptions, and the first recording of the wonderfully witty 'Threepenny Sonatina', based on themes from Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera.
Producer: Steve Plews
Recording Editor: Phillip Hardman
Piano Preparation: Ulrich Gerhartz
Piano Technician: Kait Farbon
Piano by Steinway & Sons, Hamburg
Recorded 25-26 August 2018 at Cardiff University School of Music, Wales
For further details of this recording, please the CD booklet
Described after a concerto performance as "an outstanding virtuoso - one of the finest players of his generation" (Moscow Kommersant), by the New York Times as a performer "of energy and wit", and by Tom Service in The Guardian as "an all-round virtuoso“, Kenneth Hamilton performs worldwide as a recitalist, and broadcasts regularly on the BBC. The originality of his last CD, the best-selling Preludes to Chopin (Prima Facie), generated international impact and lively critical debate. James Manheim wrote: “The commercial success of this release shows how strongly audiences hunger for fresh interpretations of mainstream repertory, and a fresh interpretation is exactly what you get“ (AllMusic). While Stefan Pieper commented: “Hamilton’s approach to Chopin ignores the pianistic fashions of today’s music-market, challenges the dogmas of historical performance-practice, and offers a complete palette of new and intriguing experiences” (Klassik Heute). Kenneth Hamilton is also well known as a writer on music. His award-winning After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance (Oxford University Press) was welcomed as "full of wit and interest, and written with passion" by Charles Rosen in The Times Literary Supplement, and as "a wonderful book" by James Fenton in The Guardian. Hamilton is Head of Cardiff University School of Music in Wales, UK.