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British Music for Piano Duet

British Music for Piano DuetAlan MacLean, Peter Lawson, Gavin Sutherland (pianos)

HTGCD 202 – 5060332661725

British Music for Piano Duet brings together works by twentieth century composers who, to a greater or lesser extent, wrote in the two-piano medium. Some of the works featured here are arrangements of pieces for alternative forces but the majority were written specifically with two pianos in mind. Several receive their first recording. The project is supported by the Berners Trust and the Thomas Pitfield Estate.

Track Listing
LORD BERNERS: Valses Bourgeoises

CONSTANT LAMBERT: Overture*; Trois pieces negres pour les touches blanches


WILLIAM WALTON: Duets for Children

PHILIP LANE: Badinages*

JOHN JOUBERT: Divertimento, Op. 2*

ROGER QUILTER: Three English Dances, Op. 11*  

ANTHONY HEDGES: Four Concert Duos Op. 121*

THOMAS PITFIELD: Kitchenmaid’s Dance*; Dance of the Wedding-Guests*


Peter Maxwell Davies: Strathclyde Concertos 1 & 2

Peter Maxwell Davies: Strathclyde Concertos 1 & 2Robin Miller (oboe), William Conway (cello), Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Peter Maxwell Davies

DKPCD 9085 – 0053068908528

The world premiere recordings, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and soloists, of the first two of Max’s ‘Brandenburg’s’ (the Strathcylde Concertos) receive a re-release after many year’s absence from the catalogue.

‘I am already haunted by music from both works: the darkly beautiful duet for the soloist and bass clarinet at the end of the Cello Concerto’s slow movement, the wonderfully ingenious summarizing coda of the Oboe Concerto, the gravity and eloquence of much of that work’s slow movement… In performance as beautiful and as polished as these the task of searching out their secrets should not be an onerous one.’ Gramophone

Track Listing
To follow…

Bernard Herrmann: Clarinet Quintet – Souvenir de Voyage; Echoes Quartet

Bernard Herrmann: Clarinet Quintet - Souvenir de Voyage; Echoes QuartetRobert Hill (clarinet); Amici and Ariel Quartets

UKCD 2069 – 5060332661756

Hermann’s Clarinet Quintet and Echoes Quartet are elegiac works of immediate melodic appeal. Their romantic style is eclectic, akin to Hermann’s classical compositions for larger forces, but their lack of aggressive ‘modernity’ produces memorable twentieth-century pieces of expressive writing.

‘The Amici Quartet catches the self-gnawing nerve and sudden, macabre explosions of the work. This is music from the psychoanalyst’s couch – probing, worrying, obsessive, self-reproachful.’ Classical.net

Track Listing

To follow…

Oliver Knussen: Where the Wild Things Are

Oliver Knussen: Where the Wild Things AreRosemary Hardy, Mary King, Hugh Herrington, Stephen Richardson, Stephen Rhys-Williams, Andres Gallacher, London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen (conductor)

DKPCD 9044 – 5060332661732

Knussen’s one-act opera which brilliantly matches the grotesque fantasy of Sendak’s children’s book of the same name.

‘The LP recording of Oliver Knussen’s fantasy opera is pretty remarkable, but the CD version is stunning. The impression to begin with is of sitting in a very good front stall—close enough to need to turn your head as the cast move about the stage… On record one notices the imaginativeness of Knussen’s sounds more: in a way, they can provide more evocative scenery than even Sendak can.’ Gramophone

‘The record presents the piece with all the bite of a live performance…….. The brilliant recording vividly conveys a sense of presence and space.’ Penguin Guide

Track Listing

To follow…

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Sinfonia Concertante & Sinfonia

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Sinfonia Concertante & SinfoniaScottish Chamber Orchestra, Peter Maxwell Davies (conductor)

UKCD 2026 – 5053068202626

Classic composer-conducted performances of Max’s 1962 Sinfonia (which takes the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 as its inspirational starting point) and the Sinfonia Concertante which is a much more extrovert piece for strings, wind quintet and timpani.

‘beautifully played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra… virtuoso playing from the Scottish principals… Well-balanced recording’ Penguin Guide, November 2016

Track Listing
1-3 Sinfonia Concertante
4-7 Sinfonia

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120Peter Hill (piano)

DKPCD 9084 – 53068908429

Peter Hill’s highly praised recording of Beethoven’s towering set of 33 variations based on a theme of Anton Diabelli. When first released the performance was noted for its intellectual approach and established Hill’s credentials as a fine interpreter of mainstream classical repertoire.

‘Deeply considered, freshly thought, and matchless in relating colour to structure’ CD Review

‘Peter Hill’s performance, backed by his long and interesting booklet essay, offers a questioning, exploratory view of the work, intellectually ‘fine… It is a reading that is strongest in moments of quiet musing’ Gramophone

Track Listing

To follow…

Grainger: Chosen Gems For Piano

Grainger: Chosen Gems For PianoPenelope Thwaites (piano)

DKPCD 9127 – 053068912723

In advance of a forthcoming Heritage release in winter 2016 entitled The Complete Piano Music for Four Hands/Two Pianos, Unicorn is delighted to reissue Penelope Thwaites’ highly acclaimed selection of Grainger miniatures for solo piano.

‘Chosen Gems for Piano is the title of this collection, and the choosing has been shrewd… An excellent basic Grainger collection.’ Gramophone

Track Listing

Danish Folk-song Suite
One More Day, My John
Knight & Shepherd’s Daughter
Near Woodstock Town
Country Gardens
The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol
Shepherd’s Hey
To a Nordic Princess
Love at First Sight
Children’s March ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’
Bridal Lullaby
Handel in the Strand
Colonial Song
Nell op. 18 No. 1 (Fauré)
Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky’s Flower Waltz
Now, Oh Now I needs Must Part

Peter Maxwell Davies: Into the Labyrinth; Sinfonietta Accademica

Peter Maxwell Davies: Into the Labyrinth; Sinfonietta AccademicaScottish Chamber Orchestra, Peter Maxwell Davies (conductor), Neil Mackie (tenor)

UKCD 2022 – 0053068202220

Into the Labyrinth is a cantata for tenor and chamber orchestra, with words from ‘The Well’ by George Mackay Brown, and the centre-piece of a chamber orchestra trilogy (the other works being Sinfonia Concertante and Sinfonietta Accademica). This Unicorn reissue is the only recording currently available. The symphonic song-cycle in five continuous movements ponders the influence of modern times on ancient ways of life.

‘The fine Scottish tenor, Neil Mackie, gives a superb performance, confirming this as one of Maxwell Davies’s most beautiful and moving inspirations… Strong intense performances under the composer, helped by a first-rate recording.’ Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

Track Listing

1-4 Into the Labyrinth
Neil Mackie/ SCO
5-7 Sinfonietta Accademica

Franz Liszt: The Power of Music

Franz Liszt: The Power of MusicPhilip Langridge (tenor), John Constable (piano)

DKPCD 9162 – 053068916226

Rarely recorded and seldom performed in the concert hall, Philip Langridge unearths a forgotten corner of Liszt’s oeuvre – the songs which he wrote throughout his life and which range from austere miniatures to grandiose affairs conceived on a large scale. He is sensitively accompanied by John Constable.

‘Liszt’s songs, a much under-rated part of his output, find a most sympathetic interpreter in Philip Langridge. He has the intelligence and poetic sensibility to appreciate their very varied nature, and indeed without such qualities no singer is likely to make very much of them……..Theirs is a sensitive partnership, and Constable is scrupulous in judging when the piano is supportive, when almost contradictory, when independent, when the soloist.’ Gramophone, November 2016

Track Listing

Ihr Glocken von Marling
Am Rhein, in schönen Ströme (two versions)
Bist du!
Vergiftet sind meine Lieder
Freudvoll und leidvoll
(3) Songs from Wilhelm Tell
(Die) Drei Zigeuner
(Der) Glückliche
Kling leise, mein Lied
(Die) Macht der Musik
Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass
Ich möchte hingehn
(Die) Vätergruft
Ich scheide
Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh

Mahler: Symphony No.6

Mahler Symphony No.6Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Jascha Horenstein (conductor)

UKCD 2024/5 – 053068202428

2 CDs

Mahler specialist, Jascha Horenstein, conducts the sixth symphony – an acclaimed 1966 performance with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

‘It is a sober reading that holds together with wonderful concentration’ Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

Track Listing

To follow…