Release Date: 06/09/17
This double-disc set, which includes the two Piano Sonatas, the early Sonatina, two sets of poetical vignettes, and the dramatic Sonata for Two Pianos, was recorded in November 2016 at the Wyastone Concert Hall by Duncan Honeybourne, whose association with Downes's piano works spans many years. In the CD booklet that accompanies the recording, Honeybourne has written about the special resonance that Downes's music has for him, it being 'woven into the very fabric of my development as a pianist and musician'. Seizing the opportunity to study Downes's first (and then only) Piano Sonata whilst a student at Birmingham Conservatoire, Honeybourne later went on to give the first performances of several of the composer's works, including the Piano Concerto, the Seven Preludes, and the second Piano Sonata, which was written specially for him and which is infused with a sound-world redolent of Honeybourne's native Dorset. A notable inclusion in the recording is the compelling miniature 'In Memoriam Herbert Howells', a tribute to Downes's own composition teacher at the Royal College of Music, and which was written to mark the 25th anniversary of Howells's death. Howells described Downes as 'one of the most effective composers coming to me these days. I have very considerable hopes for him'; and the influence that the older composer had on Downes can be seen in his lyrical gift, as well as in his contrapuntal ingenuity and the frequent recollections in his music of the sound-world of the great Tudor masters such as Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons.
|Label: Em Records|
|Run Time: 120 mins|
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