HOXA HS180618 Lennox Berkeley – The Complete Piano Works – performed by Douglas Stevens – PRESS RELEASE

PRESS INFORMATION

Lennox Berkeley – The Complete Piano Works
Performed by Douglas Stevens
Catalogue Number: HOXA HS180618 Bar Code: 5060024370379
Global Distribution: NAXOS
Release Date: 28th August 2020
Double CD/Slimline Jewel Case/Special Price (2CD at Single CD Full Price)

Tracklisting

CD1: March (1924)*; For Vere (1927); Mr Pilkington’s Toye (1926); Six Preludes (1945) Op. 23; Sonata for Piano (1945) Op. 20; Concert Study in E flat (1955) Op. 48 No. 2; Three Pieces (1935) Op. 2; Prelude and Capriccio (1978) Op. 95*; Toccata (1925)*; CD2: Three Impromptus (1935) Op. 7; Piano Pieces (1927); Five Short Pieces (1936) Op. 4; Four Concert Studies (1940) Op. 24 No. 1; Four Piano Studies (1972) Op. 82*; Paysage (1944); Three Mazurkas (Hommage à Chopin)(1949) Op. 32, No. 1; Scherzo (1949) Op. 37, No. 2; Mazurka (1982) Op. 101. No. 2; Improvisation on a Theme of Manuel de Falla (1960) Op. 55, No. 2; Polka (1934) Op. 5 No. 1 (a)

*World Premiere Recordings

Concept Overview

Sir Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989), one of  the most versatile of twentieth-century English composers, wrote music in a wide variety of genres – his output includes four symphonies, four operas (plus the unfinished Faldon Park), three string quartets and numerous songs, choral pieces and works for solo piano. Sadly, he is only remembered for a fraction of this output, including the Four Poems of St Teresa of Avila, the Missa Brevis, the Flute Sonatina and the Six Preludes for piano.

Born at Boars Hill, near Oxford, Berkeley studied composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger after completing a degree at  the University of Oxford. He married Freda Bernstein in 1946 and their three children include Michael Berkeley, himself a professional composer. Lennox Berkeley also retained a lasting friendship with Benjamin Britten, whom he first met at the ISCM Festival in Barcelona in 1936. Teaching at the Royal Academy of Music for over twenty years, Berkeley facilitated the training of many composers including William Mathias, John Tavener and Richard Rodney Bennett. Berkeley converted to Catholicism in 1928 and his faith had a significant impact on his music, leading to works such as the Stabat Mater, the Four Poems of St Teresa of Avila and the two settings of the Mass; his film music includes that for The Sword of the Spirit, depicting the struggle of Catholics during World War Two.

Berkeley’s music displays a wide variety  of influences, from eighteenth-century Classicism through to the Romanticism of Fauré and Chopin, contemporary French music of the early twentieth century and Britten. Yet these influences are never  heard as a ‘patchwork’ – the remarkable individuality of Berkeley’s style attests to the way these influences became amalgamated into a unique compositional approach.

Despite his relative obscurity Berkeley received many accolades in later life including a Knighthood and a papal Knighthood of St Gregory. A growing number of recordings of his music demonstrates a continuation of interest  in his work and legacy.

The booklet contains detailed notes on each of the works on this recording from Douglas Stevens.

Artist Biography

Dr Douglas Stevens studied music at the University of Bristol and continued his studies with a PhD focusing on the music  of Lennox Berkeley, under Professor Stephen Banfield.

He is much sought after as an accompanist and has a wide repertory as a solo pianist.

Douglas has accompanied many choirs including Bristol University Singers,  the Athenaeum Singers, the Harry Ensemble and The Erebus Ensemble.

As a composer Douglas has completed  a large variety of works including a  violin sonata, two piano sonatas and several songs.

He is Organist at the Chapel of All Saints at Wardour Castle in Wiltshire.

Marketing and Press

This CD had limited exposure to the press and media when first released and is now being re-presented in order that these recordings reach the wider audience that they deserve, so  will be fully serviced to all UK Press and Media.

Review copies can be requested from john@musicandmediaconsulting.com – interviews with Douglas Stevens can be quickly arranged if required.

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