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Bowen: Complete Works for Viola and Piano / Power, Crawford-Phillips

Album Summary

>Bowen, York : Sonata for viola & piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 18
>Bowen, York : Romance for Viola and Piano in D flat major
>Bowen, York : Fantasie Quartet for 4 Violas
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27/2 "Moonlight"
>Bowen, York : Fantasy for Viola and Piano, Op. 54
>Bowen, York : Sonata for viola & piano no 2 in F major, Op. 22
>Bowen, York : Romance for Viola and Piano in A major
>Bowen, York : Allegro de concert for Viola and Piano in D minor
>Bowen, York : Melody for the G string, Op. 47
>Bowen, York : Melody for the C String, Op. 51
>Bowen, York : Rhapsody for Viola and Piano
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Prized for his playing of "infinite grace and expressive subtlety" (Classic FM Magazine), England's Lawrence Power is one of today's foremost viola players - the young heir to the honored tradition of Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. Here Power presents a fascinating double album of viola music by York Bowen (1884-1961), sometimes described as the "English Rachmaninov." This generous selection of works originally composed for Lionel Tertis fully demonstrates the composer's artistry and includes the two 'Viola Sonatas' (1905-06), the 'Fantasia' for four violas (1907), plus a host of shorter pieces written throughout his life.

RECORDING OF THE WEEK - CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE

CLASSIC FM MAGAZINE INSTRUMENTAL DISC OF THE MONTH

'Bowen's music ... is full of surprises and of a harmonic language and idiom peculiarly his own ... Both CDs are beautifully planned ... and the performances could hardly be more glowing. Bowen's writing for both instruments is more than demanding yet nothing detracts from Lawrence Power's and Simon Crawford-Phillips's enviable fluency and achievement. Once again Hyperion hits the jackpot in a much-needed revival and the sound and balance are exemplary' (Gramophone)

'The two viola sonatas of 1905 and 1906 are clearly inspired by the romantic style of Brahms's late sonatas for clarinet and viola. They are worthy successors, at least when played with the sumptuous tone, passionate convinction and supreme technical address that Power lavishes on them here. Even finer are the two single-movement pieces ... Crawford-Phillips relishes the bravura of Bowen's writing for the piano in this superbly executed set, unlikely to be equalled very soon' (Sunday Times) 'Once again Hyperion has hit the jackpot in a much-needed revival and the sound and balance are exemplary' (Gramophone) 'The music of the hugely prolific York Bowen is enjoying something of a renaissance ... His long association with England's great champion of the viola, Lionel Tertis, produced some signficant sonatas, romances and rhapsodies which see the light of day again in this recording. Lawrence Power's gorgeous dark red tone is perfect for this repertoire' (Observer)

'Composers whose rich romanticism was out of favour among 20th-century pundits who favoured angular austerity are finally receiving their due. Bowen believed the viola sounded more attractive than the violin and has a persuasive advocate in Power' (Classical Music Magazine)

'All the pieces show Bowen's love of the instrument's capacity to unfold long-limbed, rhapsodic melodies ... Lawrence Power's richly expressive moulding of them is a rare treat in itself' (The Guardian)

'Power, the first British winner of the William Primrose International Viola Competition, now returns to this cherishable area of the repertoire with equally stunning results. Accompanied by Crawford-Phillips, Lawrence's fabulous combination of tonal seductiveness and technical wizardry works wonders in the bold expressive outlines of the two sonatas. Yet it is the heart-warming, stand-alone pieces (many recorded here for the first time) ... that make this release truly indispensable. Another Hyperion winner' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Following his successful recording of Bowen's Concerto, Lawrence Power turns to this repertoire with similar technical ease, and persuasively idiomatic tempo inflections and portamenti' (BBC Music Magazine)

'What a delicious recording ... The two sonatas are fully persuasive from their first notes, each blessed with a sixth sense for Bowen's overarching structure. Power pulls new colours from his instrument with irrepressible bravura, while never losing a kindliness for the more intimate moments that ... are as stylistically imperative as the grander apotheoses that call to mind Rachmaninov, Chopin or Debussy ... The writing is quite masterful in its alchemy of structure and emotion and the performances are exquisitely balanced, refined and mindful of the elegiac character that broadly underpins the work ... With music-making of this calibre, who can predict the summit of York Bowen's renewed celebrity? Bravo!' (International Record Review)

'Lawrence Power, surely one of the finest viola players of today, and Simon Crawford-Phillips play magnificently and as one in this excellent survey of Bowen's works for viola and piano. Hyperion's recording, made at Potton Hall, is outstanding, and the set is recommended without reservation' (Audiophile Audition)

'Violist Lawrence Power and pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips touch the nerve centers of this music and convey its subtle flavors and fragrances. The recording is up to Hyperion's high standard' (Fanfare, USA)

'The viola ... has no better exponent than Lawrence Power ... We must be very grateful that his music is now in wide circulation again ... A real discovery' (Liverpool Daily Post)



Reviews

Grows on you
I was initially bored by this set, and regretted paying $40 to hear it. But three or four listens in, it caught my ears and did not let go for two hours. This is fine, middlebrow, expertly written music, full of catchy tunes and interesting harmonies. I can hardly understand now why I didn't love it from the beginning! The sound is excellent: piano/viola balance is ideal, and sound is rich top to bottom. Mr. Power's viola is lithe and sufficiently full in tone, not overly pinched or nasal. Mr. Phillips is a full partner, and plays with possession. Fans of late-Romantic chamber music not allergic to the viola will love this recital.
Submitted on 03/10/09 by Steve W. 
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Works Details

>Bowen, York : Sonata for viola & piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 18
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1904

>Bowen, York : Romance for Viola and Piano in D flat major
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1900-1904

>Bowen, York : Fantasie Quartet for 4 Violas
  • Performers: James Boyd (Viola); Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Scott Dickinson (Viola); Philip Dukes (Viola); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1907

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27/2 "Moonlight" :: 1. Adagio sostenuto
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1801

>Bowen, York : Fantasy for Viola and Piano, Op. 54
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 05/31/1918

>Bowen, York : Sonata for viola & piano no 2 in F major, Op. 22
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1906

>Bowen, York : Romance for Viola and Piano in A major
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908

>Bowen, York : Allegro de concert for Viola and Piano in D minor
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 02/1906

>Bowen, York : Melody for the G string, Op. 47
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1917

>Bowen, York : Melody for the C String, Op. 51
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1918

>Bowen, York : Rhapsody for Viola and Piano
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (10/29/2007-10/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955