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BOWEN Partita. Suite Mignonne. Third Suite. 3 Sketches. Sonatina. 3 Novelettes. Polonaise, op. 26/2. A Whim • Joop Celis (pn) • CHANDOS 10593 (79:35)

Although Bowen is sometimes referred to as “the English Rachmaninoff” for his deeply romantic streak, John Lindsey (a member of the York Bowen Society) finds him to be more of an English Chopin, “a composer with whom Bowen was a kindred spirit. It is Bowen’s solo piano music that lifts him to the position of a grand master.” Among other achievements, Bowen the pianist is credited with having made the first-ever recording of Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto in 1926. His catalog of some 160 compositions includes three symphonies, four piano concertos, many chamber works and much piano music, including six sonatas and a series of 24 preludes in all major and minor keys. No less a label than Chandos has seen fit to entrust a Dutch pianist, Joop Celis, with the task of recording all of Bowen’s solo piano compositions. The series is now up to Volume 4

Celis brings to Bowen’s music loving caresses, a wealth of dynamic nuances, a full palette of colors, a sure sense of rubato and playful touches. A thoroughly delightful disc. I for one look forward to the continuation of Celis’s Bowen project.

"Why such gratifying music has lain unplayed for so long is a mystery..The cherry on the top throughout is the wonderful playing of Joop Celis, a Dutchman completely in tune with Bowen's idiom, incapable of making an ugly sound...Altogether a lovely disc." Gramophone Magazine, June 2010

There is almost no need for me to write that this is a fantastic CD. I have long been enthusiastic about virtually everything that I have heard from the pen of York Bowen. This CD will be a must for all enthusiasts of British piano music that has a late-romantic flavour to it. The playing by Joop Celis is, as with the other three volumes in this series, superb. York Bowen and his champion certainly deserve each other!

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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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