Friday, 30 October 2009

British Piano Music: Some Tantalising Pieces

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[well I thought it would work!!! Friday 30th October]


I recently found a copy of Walton O'Donnell's When the Sun is Setting in an Oxfam shop. This pieces is interesting, but what is perhaps more fascinating is the advertisement on the back of the cover. To be fair, some of the pieces are by composers who are not British. And there are a few famous names, including Bax, Hurlstone, Bowen, Elgar, Stanford and Bantock.
Yet scattered amongst this ''Selection of Modern Pianoforte Music are some truly desirable gems. Some of this music I have in my collection, yet most of it seems to have disappeared 'without trace.' I guess that many of these pieces will not be in the RCM or the RAM libraries: perhaps the only place to locate them will be the British Library?
I do not for one minute suggest that all these works are masterpieces, however I do feel that many of them probably deserve an occasional airing by professional pianists. Certainly most are probably just beyond the gift the amateur: the pieces I know are typically Grade 7 or 8' -ish.
If I had to mention three of the pieces listed that I would most like to hear, or try to play, they would be Pierrot by Ernest Farrar, F.H Cowen's Cupid's Conspiracy Suite and Edith M. Saunders's Impromptu in F minor.
Lastly I am charmed by the name A. E. Horrocks: I wonder where he lived, what he wrote and what his music sounds like. I will certainly keep my eye open in the second hand bookshops for his Six Pieces Op.14.

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