Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New Review in October 06 issue of Gramophone Magazine

The current issue of Gramophone includes a review of the recent Regis Stevenson Concerto recording:

Stevenson Piano Concertos No 1 ‘Faust Triptych’; No 2 ‘The Continents’
Murray McLachlan pf
Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra/Julian Clayton
Regis Forum FRC 9109 (65’DDD)
From Olympia OCD429, recorded 1993

A dedicated non-follower of fashion finds champions worthy of his music

These extraordinary concertos are the products of a born rebel with a cause: a composer-pianist who has resolutely defied fashion to go his own way. Both are outsize reflections of Stevenson’s love of Busoni, a figure who has haunted him throughout his long and adventurous career, hanging like a menacing cloud over so much of his music. Originally written as a Franckian solo triptych for John Ogdon (another key influence), the First Concerto’s meditation on Busoni’s Doktor Faust was later orchestrated for its final form. The sombre start, sudden flashes of pianistic lightning and the alternation of toccata-like figuration and long passages of gloomy but mesmeric introspection are wholly typical.
The Second Concerto, The Continents, unites wildly disparate elements (African drumming, Australasian, Asian, Scottish pibroch, American and Latin-American) to create a vast musical fabric, its coherence dictated by the idea of a world united against prejudice and cruelty.
The piano writing in both concertos is as idiomatic and demanding as you would expect from a pianist of Stevenson’s calibre, at once virtuoso and primus inter pares. And it could hardly have a more dazzling or eloquent champion than Murray McLachlan. Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra do both composer and pianists proud and if it is difficult to imagine either concerto achieving popularity (hardly the composer’s intention), both repay the closest study. Sound and balance are admirable and all lovers of Stevenson’s powerful, eclectic but personal voice will have to have this. Bryce Morrison

Gramophone volume 84 October 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home