Bowen: The Piano Sonatas / Danny Driver

Album Summary

>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 1 in B minor, Op. 6
>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 9
>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 12
>Bowen, York : Short Sonata for piano in C sharp minor, Op. 35/1
>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 5 in F minor, Op. 72
>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 6 in B flat minor, Op. 160
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"To follow up Danny Driver's highly acclaimed Hyperion recording of Bowen's Third and Fourth piano concertos, the label has recruited the young pianist to set down the composer's six piano sonatas, all substantial works whose richly textured, harmonically lush, and utterly idiomatic keyboard writing evokes Rachmaninov and Medtner by way of Delius, Bax, Ireland, and Scott, with a few Impressionist finishing touches and, arguably, a little GershwinThe playing is terrificNo doubt that Driver's rock-solid technique and natural sympathy for Bowen's coruscating idiom is what the good folks at Hyperion had in mind for this fascinating and valuable release." - Classics Today

"No better example of Hyperion's founding principles could be imagined than this disc of three premiere recordings contributing to the first survey of the complete sonatas by an unjustly neglected composer. There really is no longer any excuse for pianists to ignore the music of York Bowen (1884-1961) or for concert promoters to reject it as obscure music by a minor composer.

Francis Pott provides a superb and perceptive overview of the six works in his accompanying booklet, noting the development of (and various influences on) Bowen. One catches glimpses in the early Sonatas Nos 1 and 2 (c1901) and No 3 (1912) of Chopin, Mendelssohn and most notably MacDowell (the slow movement of the B minor Sonata is reminiscent of "AD MDCXX", one of the Sea Pieces). Sonata No 4 appears to be lost. The Short Sonata, Op 35 No 1 (1922) has hints of Delius. In Nos 5 (1923) and 6 (1961) one at last finds some justification in Bowen being labelled the "English Rachmaninov".

Danny Driver, whose debut on Hyperion was an acclaimed recording of Bowen's Third and Fourth piano concertos, is the ideal advocate for this glorious music, playing with razor-sharp articulation and a rich, organ-like sonority (well captured by Simon Eadon and Andrew Keener) while characterising Bowen's ruminative slow movements with tender introspection and an improvisatory air, a particular pleasure of these two discs. Driver is an artist who is able to transcend the sterile surrounds of the studio and give "real" performances, an early Award nominee for next year. Who knows, with a composer whose name begins with "B" he might stand a chance of winning." -Gramophone Awards, 2010 / Instrumental nominee

'No better example of Hyperion's founding principles could be imagined than this disc of three premiere recordings contributing to the first survey of the complete sonatas by an unjustly neglected composer ... Danny Driver is the ideal advocate for this glorious music, playing with razor-sharp articulation and a rich, organ-like sonority ... Driver is an artist who is able to transcend the sterile surrounds of the studio and give 'real' performances, an early Award nominee for next year' (Gramophone)

'Danny Driver plays the canon of six sonatas with a blend of warmth, bravura, expressive sensibility and verve ... Driver's superb, astute performances are convincing testimonies to Bowen assimilating stimuli with a potent imagination of his own' (Daily Telegraph)

'Scintillating demands amply accomplished by Driver, whose light filigree passagework is sensationally clear ... The Fifth is a veritable tour de force, Bowen at his best ... Francis Pott's programme notes are ideal ... Driver's virtuosity and technical finesse is remarkable' (International Record Review)

'This fine sonata survey from Danny Driver, whom readers may recall from his oustanding Hyperion coupling of York Bowen's Third and Fourth Piano Concertos ... All are demanding, rewarding scores that Driver despatches with captivating virtuosity' (Classic FM Magazine)

'All this music here is played quite wonderfully by Danny Driver - with bravura, sensitivity and insightful commitment, a labour of love; with tangible and vivid recorded sound and informative documentation, this release can be heartily recommended' (ClassicalSource.com)

'With performances such as these a successful future for Danny Driver seems assured. This young soloist plays with sympathy and dedication, buoyancy and freshness. This is a splendid set from Hyperion that should broaden York Bowen's appeal still further. Francis Pott has as usual done a fine job with the booklet essay. Beautifully recorded by the Hyperion engineers at the Henry Wood Hall with warmth and considerable clarity' (MusicWeb.com)

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-).



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Works Details

>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 1 in B minor, Op. 6
  • Performer: Danny Driver (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 9
  • Performer: Danny Driver (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1901

>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 12
  • Performer: Danny Driver (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 08/1912

>Bowen, York : Short Sonata for piano in C sharp minor, Op. 35/1
  • Performer: Danny Driver (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 5 in F minor, Op. 72
  • Performer: Danny Driver (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Bowen, York : Sonata for Piano no 6 in B flat minor, Op. 160
  • Performer: Danny Driver (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall London (2008-07-10_2008-07-11&2008-)
  • Running Time: 14 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1961