André Tchaikowsky: Inventions and Dances
Robert Keeley: Variations for Piano
Malcolm Williamson: Piano Sonata No.1
Colin Stone, piano
Malcolm Williamson was born in Australia in 1931. From the age of eleven he studeied piano, violin and horn at the Sydeney Conservatorium where he was taught composition by Eugene Goossens. When Williamson was nineteen he left Australia for London to become a pupil of Erwin Stein and Elisabeth Lutyens. The First Piano Sonata is a product of his early years in England and impressed Benjamin Britten sufficiently for the older composer to recommend the work to Boosey and Hawkes for publication. The Sonata is in three movements and whilst one might perceive a debt to Stravinsky in the outer movements, or even Fauré in the slow middle movement, the voice is predominantly fresh and original. This immediacy of expression has never deserted the composer who, in recognition of his significant contribution fo British musical life, was appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 1975.
André Tchaikowsky was born in Poland in 1935. At the age of 9 he began formal piano studies at the State Music School in Lodz. An extraordinary talent, he continued to the Paris Conservatoire in 1948 from where he graduated with Gold Medals in sight-reading and piano performance at the age of 14. In 1959 he moved to London and started to divide his time between concert dates and composing. This effectively ended his career as an international virtuoso, but he continued to perform until a premature death from cancer at the age of 46. The Inventions for Piano (1961-1962) - Opus 2 derive from an idea André formed to sketch in music 10 of his friends and then invite them to a 'secret' performance to see if they could guess which piece depicted them.
Dances for Piano (1981). André had undertaken to write six Dances for Piano for pianist and good friend Stephen Kovacevich, who commissioned the work. Only the Mazurka and Tango were finished.
Robert Keeley was born in South Wales in 1960. He studeied at the Royal College of Music with Oliver Knussen and at Oxford with the late Dr Bernard roase and with Robert Saxton: there were later studies in Rome and Tanglewood, when in 1988 he was the Benjamin Britten Fellow in Composition. He is now Senior Lecturer in Composition at King's College, London. Variations for Piano (1992) is his first large-scale piano work, and was written for Colin Stone,' whose virtuosity and musical understanding of, amongst other things, the German repertoire inspired me to attempt a big variation structure, modelled to some extent on Bach's Goldbergs, Beethoven's Diabelli and Brahms' Handel Variations.' As in the case of the Bach, these are variations on a ground-bass rather than on a theme, althoug the ground-bass is frequently treated as a theme, frequently contrapuntally. Also, like Bach, a number of canons are included: and there are occasional hommages in the direction of other favourite composers.
Malcolm Williamson: Piano Sonata No.1 9'29
1-3 Allegro: Poco lento: Ben allegro ma misurato
4 Tango 3'27
5 Mazurka 2'31
6 - 16 Inventions for Piano 21'43
17 - 39 Variations for Piano 28'15
We would like to thank the following for their help in making this recording possible:
The Holst Foundation, King's College, London, Terry Harrison, Uri Segal, Lilein Kosman-Keller, Tony and Val Rees, Eve Harrison, David A. Ferré