Harold Truscott (1914-92) enjoyed a reputation as one of Britain's most perceptive writers on music, a doughty champion of many neglected composers who have now become familiar figures. But Truscott himself was a composer of some stature, writing in an individual style that is rooted in Beethoven and Schubert but also absorbs the influences of Nielsen, Medtner and Hindemith. This is the first CD in a series which will present his substantial corpus of piano music.
Ian Hobson, piano
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Catalogue No: TOCC0252EAN/UPC: 5060113442529Release Date: 01.12.2014Composer: Harold Truscott Artists: Ian Hobson
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Gary Higginson :
“… In terms of length the Sonata No. 7 is not actually big, but in strength and depth it is a massive canvas. … The writing at times reminded me of Ronald Stevenson and Alkan – whom Truscott much admired and wrote about. Its opening ideas, four brief ones which form an exposition are cleverly developed in sonata form. The composer felt, quite rightly, that the power of this movement could not be succeeded by anything else. So a torso it remains, but a mesmerising one. On listening to the Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme I could see why Truscott had been an admirer of another, often overlooked figure, Edmund Rubbra. The theme is a quite deliberate attempt at line drawing of useful intervallic relations. These are worked through both thoroughly and imaginatively and the well contrasted twenty variations are capped by a towering and lengthy fugue. … [Suite in G major]: The piano version is a rescue attempt and it comes across as a powerful work in which the orchestral textures and colours are exhaustively developed especially in the massive finale. … The performances are, as far as one can tell, passionate and also immaculate.” MusicWeb International
Colin Clarke :
“This is an important disc, and one that, it is to be hoped, will bring about a renewal of interest in the music of this imaginative and sometimes challenging composer. … [The Piano Sonata No. 7 (1956):] this piece exudes a massive sense of granitic power. It is a shifting chameleon with an undercurrent of Prokofiev. … Hobson’s playing is faultless, really finding the heart of the piece. …
The Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme dates from 1967. … There is some amazing writing here. Variation V is terrific, full of power. While Variation X offers some measure of peace, it is a troubled one: We seem to also be granted a window into the music’s subconscious, for there is a disturbing undercurrent that blossoms out in the chordal, Busoni-like Variation XII. … The countersubject is highly distinct, its line decorated by trills and with pedaling that injects more of a sense of fantasy into the ongoing argument. There is terrific strength (again, Busoni-like) to the fugue; the close is highly impressive.
The Suite (1966) is an arrangement of an orchestral work that was never performed … while the woodwind scoring in the orchestral version places this firmly in a more English Pastoralist tradition (and very beautiful it is, too), some brass outbursts add a huge dose of spice to the mix. … There is a contrapuntal element to the finale that results in juxtapositions of chordal statements with passages of great complexity. Hobson honors both aspects to perfection, and on the monochrome piano this works well. …
Interestingly, the booklet notes include Havergal Brian’s comments on the Fifth Sonata (Brian was the dedicatee). Under Hobson’s fingers this complex music unfolds naturally. …
As might be clear by now, anyone who is stimulated and fascinated by the music of Havergal Brian will find much to enjoy here. Busoni enthusiasts also might well wish to investigate it, as might those who align themselves to Hindemith or the piano music of Nielsen. Hobson’s performances exude concentration, and this music demands much of that particular trait. … This is a major issue.” —Fanfare Magazine, January/February 2016
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