C. P. E. Bach: Spiritual Songs
C. P. E. Bach’s two collections of religious songs, published in 1758 and 1780–81, were among the most popular eighteenth-century Lieder publications. Here a selection of them is recorded for the first time with complete texts and accompanied with the clavichord, the composer’s favourite instrument, underlining their intimate nature, intended more for private devotional use than for public performance. The recording includes the ‘Hamlet Fantasy’ that resulted when the poet Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg imposed his paraphrase of Hamlet’s soliloquy on one of C. P. E. Bach’s keyboard pieces.
Arthur Farwell: Piano Music, Volume Two
The American composer Arthur Farwell (1872–1952) is remembered as the leading member of a group of ‘Indianists’ who used Native American tribal melodies. But Farwell’s stylistic range was much wider than is realised today. This second CD of his piano music presents not only two Indianist pieces but also the early character-pieces Tone Pictures after Pastels in Prose and the experimental Polytonal Studies, which pit two different keys against each other to generate unusual harmonies.
Alexander Grechaninov: Complete Music for Viola and Piano
Alexander Grechaninov saw much change in the course of his long life (1864–1956), fleeing Revolutionary Russia into exile, first in Paris and then the United States. A member of the second generation of nationalist composers – he was a student of Rimsky-Korsakov and Taneyev – he never abandoned an essentially Russian lyricism, as these attractive but largely unknown viola works make clear.
Nikolai Peyko: Complete Piano Music, Volume One
The Russian composer Nikolai Peyko (1916–95) studied with Myaskovsky at the Moscow Conservatoire, where he later became Shostakovich’s teaching assistant and then an important teacher in his own right. Peyko’s piano music shares Shostakovich’s fondness for irony and Prokofiev’s for driving march-rhythms and playful good humour and, as with so many Russian composers, the sound of bells can often be heard. Each of the two CDs in this complete recording of his piano music ends with one of Peyko’s two works for two pianos – the first time that any of this music has been heard in its entirety.
Gerard Schurmann: Chamber Music Volume Two
The Anglo-Dutch composer Gerard Schurmann, born in the East Indies in 1924 and based in the USA since 1981, first made his mark in Britain in the 1940s and ’50s, as a pianist and composer, particularly of chamber music and, later, of film scores. His concert output is intense, passionate, tightly argued and charged with energy, but also infused with lyricism, as these four works demonstrate.