EMR CD040–41 | DETAILS
  EMR CD040–41
   
  DAYBREAK IN THE FIELDS
The piano music of ANDREW DOWNES
  Duncan Honeybourne (pf)
Katharine Lam (pf)
   
  EAN 5 060263 500414

This double-disc set, which includes the two Piano Sonatas, the early Sonatina, two sets of poetical vignettes, and the dramatic Sonata for Two Pianos, was recorded in November 2016 at the Wyastone Concert Hall by Duncan Honeybourne, whose association with Downes’s piano works spans many years.  In the CD booklet that accompanies the recording, Honeybourne has written about the special resonance that Downes’s music has for him, it being “woven into the very fabric of my development as a pianist and musician”.  Seizing the opportunity to study Downes’s first (and then only) Piano Sonata whilst a student at Birmingham Conservatoire, Honeybourne later went on to give the first performances of several of the composer’s works, including the Piano Concerto, the Seven Preludes, and the second Piano Sonata, which was written specially for him and which is infused with a sound-world redolent of Honeybourne’s native Dorset.

 

A notable inclusion in the recording is the compelling miniature ‘In Memoriam Herbert Howells’, a tribute to Downes’s own composition teacher at the Royal College of Music, and which was written to mark the 25th anniversary of Howells’s death.  Howells described Downes as “one of the most effective composers coming to me these days.  I have very considerable hopes for him”; and the influence that the older composer had on Downes can be seen in his lyrical gift, as well as in his contrapuntal ingenuity and the frequent recollections in his music of the sound-world of the great Tudor masters such as Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons.

TRACK LISTING AND AUDIO EXTRACTS
     

CD1

     
Andrew Downes (b.1950)
SONATA NO.1
1. Slow – Much faster  
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2. Andante  
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3. Allegro  
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SONATA NO.2
(World Première recording)
4. Andante espressivo  
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5. Allegro moderato  
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6. Allegro vivace: leggiero  
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SONATA FOR TWO PIANOS
7. Tempo moderato  
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8. Andante  
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9. Più mosso – Cantabile  
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CD2

       
SONATINA
(World Première recording)
 
1. Allegro moderato  
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2. Moderato  
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3. Presto  
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SEVEN PRELUDES
(World Première recording)
4. ‘Solitude’  
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5. ‘Leaves in Autumn’  
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6. ‘Winter Lanes’  
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7. ‘Spring Lambs’  
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8. ‘Summer Calypso’  
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9. ‘Daybreak in the Fields’  
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10. ‘Storm Force’  
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11. ‘IN MEMORIAM HERBERT HOWELLS’ (World Première recording)  
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SEVEN POSTLUDES
(World Première recording)
 
12. ‘Dusk’  
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13. ‘Twilight’  
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14. ‘Evensong’  
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15. ‘Owls’  
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16. ‘Nightfall’  
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17. ‘Flight of the Bats’  
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18. ‘At Midnight’  
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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