NORMAN STINCHCOMBE REVELS IN MOZART AND MOSZKOWSKI CDs MOZART PIANO SONATAS VOL.3: Donohoe (Somm Recordings SOMMCD 0613) ★★★★★ The third volume of Peter Donohoe's Mozart piano cycle is as stimulating, provoking and sheerly enjoyable as its predecessors. Charm, elegance and poetry are not lacking in Donohoe's playing but they are not prioritized in the way they are in the sonata cycles of Pires (DG) and Uchida (Philips). Donohoe is quicker than them in every movement and not just by omitting repeats. Pugnacious, witty and sparkling, this Mozart is a young man in a hurry. In the Adagio in B minor K.540, Donohoe does not downplay the piece's proto-Romanticism but it's more austere and trenchant than Uchida's, which dreamily anticipates Schubert. Donohoe's preference for a Bechstein, lighter than Uchida's Steinway, contributes to his approach. The disc is programmed as a very satisfying recital, starting with K.330 in C Major and concluding with a fizzin
Showing posts from April, 2020
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THE MUSIC BEHIND THE E-CARDS MIKE HUGHES-CHAMBERLAIN AND JACQUIE LAWSON E-CARDS by Christopher Morley It's always a joy when an e-greetings card plops into your inbox, not least at festive times of the year. It's easy to understand why the sending of these cyber-messages has become so popular, given the huge cost of postage nowadays At the forefront of this trend are the e-cards produced by Jacquie Lawson, and in addition to the attractive artwork, witty and sensitive storylines, and interactive opportunities offered by these little gems, comes the input of music, atmospheric and appropriate. Whether specially composed or arranged from other sources, these sound-pictures are masterminded by Mike Hughes-Chamberlain, who has made the seamless connection between a musical education and Information Technology in order to create scores for these scores of delightful little gems. He was brought up in Hindhead in Surrey, where his mother founded a music school in 1975.
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ETHEL SMYTH AND MENDELSSOHN CDs REVIEWED SMYTH SONGS AND BALLADS: Stevens / Marcus / Berkeley Ensemble / Martinez (Somm Recordings SOMMCD 0611) ★★★ Lucy Stevens is an actor and singer acclaimed for her one-woman shows including Grasp the Nettle based on the life of composer Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944). A fascinating life too: trained at Leipzig Conservatory and the first woman to have an opera produced at Covent Garden. A solid Victorian upbringing but a rebel; bisexual and a suffragette jailed in Holloway for her political activities. Stevens, with a powerful contralto voice, sings a wide variety of Smyth's songs accompanied in Four Songs, by the Berkeley Ensemble under Odaline de la Martine, and in the rest by pianist Elizabeth Marcus her musical partner from the Smyth stage show. I expect that was an entertaining evening but on disc it doesn't work – the musical material isn't strong enough. The early works are twee and the Lieder like diluted Brahms. Withou