EMR CD034 | DETAILS
  EMR CD034
   
  A WESTERN BORDERLAND
  Duncan Honeybourne (pf.)
   
  Release date: 17 December 2015 | EAN 5 060263 500308

The counties on the borders between England and Wales - Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire - are rich in spiritual resonance, powerful historical imagery and a tangible sense of tranquility and apartness, which continues to appeal strongly to composers, writers and artists. This CD presents works for piano by four composers associated with this borderland.

 

Edward Elgar was born just outside Worcester; the ‘Concert Allegro’, his only substantial piece for solo piano, was written whilst living at Malvern Wells. Ivor Gurney was strongly attached to his native Gloucestershire, and his ‘Five Western Watercolours’ paint sound portraits of favourite landscapes in that county. Walford Davies was born in Oswestry, Shropshire; his ‘Theme and Variations’, written whilst a student at th e Royal College of Music, was rediscovered by Duncan Honeybourne, who gave its first known public performance in 2015. Richard Francis was born in Herefordshire and now lives and works in Shropshire: the works on this CD were given their première performances by Duncan Honeybourne.

TRACK LISTING
     
Henry Walford Davies (1869–1941)
1. ‘THEME AND VARIATIONS’ (1890) (World Première recording)    
       
Richard Francis (b.1946)
‘FANTASY SONATA’ (1969; revised 2006) (World Première recording)
2. I. Andante molto moderato – Allegro molto  
3. II. Molto maestoso – tranquillamente – lento misterioso (like an echoing chime)    
4. III. Poco allegretto    
       
Ivor Gurney (1890–1937)
‘FIVE WESTERN WATERCOLOURS’ (1923) (World Première recording)
5. ‘Twyver River’  
6. ‘Alney Island’  
7. ‘The Old Road’    
8. ‘Still Meadows’    
9. ‘Sugarloaf Hill’    
       
Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934)
10. ‘CONCERT ALLEGRO’ (1901)    
       
Richard Francis (b.1946)
‘CHARACTERISTIC PIECES’, Vol.1 (1964–70) (World Première recording)
11. ‘Waltz’    
12. ‘Siciliano’    
13. ‘A Child’s Tune’    
14. ‘Nocturne’    
15. ‘April Shower’    
16. ‘Berceuse’    
17. ‘The Old Millwheel’    
18. ‘Sea Idyll’    

19.

‘Merry-go-Round’    
20. ‘Frolic’ (Finale)    

 

REVIEWS
Beautifully shaped by Benjamin Frith... Beguiling sounds, graced by the tawny richness and unexaggerated line of Richard Jenkinson’s cello playing... The sense of purpose and sureness of line of Ian Venables’ music is pure oxygen.
EMR CD31 | BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Exquisitely rewarding... Ravishing accounts.
EMR CD029 | CHOIR AND ORGAN
This is music of great beauty and integrity and the performances fully do it justice. It would be criminal to let it pass you by.

EMR CD028 | INTERNATIONAL
RECORD REVIEW

The Bridge Quartet approach these pieces with a sympathetic and insightful warmth, and confirm their ambassadorial credentials for British chamber music. A lovely, radiant disc.
EMR CD025 | Gramophone
Duncan Honeybourne’s playing is astonishingly affectionate, yet never saccharine... Honeybourne plays with suave confidence.
EMR CD024 | INTERNATIONAL PIANO
Rupert Marshall-Luck is an ideal interpreter: generously but not effusively lyrical; agile and athletic... The warm, folk-song like slow movement is at times almost painfully beautiful, with a shimmering pastoral central section... Marshall-Luck is, again, indefatigable and keenly picks up on the work’s melancholic strain.  Finely recorded and with comprehensive booklet notes, this is a must for fans of 20th-century English repertoire.
EMR CD023 | THE STRAD