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Berkeley: Six Preludes For Piano, Etc / Schirmer Ensemble


Release Date: 06/21/2005 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557324   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Elizabeth SellarsLen VorsterDavid BerlinMasahide Kurita,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schirmer Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"This release features everything from chips off the workbench to moderate-sized works, all of it bearing the hallmark of impeccable craftsmanship that was a feature of Berkeley’s music.

The Short Pieces for Piano of 1937 recall Poulenc in their easy charm that neither contains depths nor pretends to any. Written in 1945, the six Preludes for Piano bring Fauré and Ravel to mind, both in the modal writing and highly idiomatic use of the instrument. The tone is more varied than in the earlier collection, and the overall effect, one of emotional breadth and refinement. If the Andantino for Cello and Piano possesses an apparent vocal line, it’s because the work is actually a transcription of a soprano solo from
Read more Berkeley’s Festive Anthem; and Berkeley was right to save this songful little excerpt from the usual fate accorded such works. The three Pieces for Clarinet solo were written in 1939 but not published until 1983, and dedicated to Thea King—a handy thing to keep in your portfolio, when you wish to compliment an outstanding clarinetist with more than words. At 1:24, the 1982 Mazurka is the shortest composition performed here. Composed in honor of the 250th anniversary of Haydn’s birth, it is a wonderful example of Berkeley’s subtle, transparent, late manner, though I’ve yet to understand the connection between Poland and Haydn. Among the longer works, the Duo for Cello and Piano from 1971 is a stark, almost ghostly piece with an emphasis on pointillistic counterpoint, and at 6:19, easily the largest, most complex movement on this release. The four-movement Concertino of 1955 emphasizes elegance and austerity; even the last movement, a vivace rondo, is grim-faced despite its typically Berkeleyian rhythmic verve. Finally, the Sonatina, written in 1943, possesses a weight of incident and seriousness entirely beyond its duration. Not that it foregoes the composer’s customary lightness of touch, but the sober, often forcefully direct manner of the piece displays a side of Berkeley not heard elsewhere on this CD."

Barry Brenesal, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op. 17 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Elizabeth Sellars (Violin), Len Vorster (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schirmer Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; England 
Date of Recording: 12/05/2000 
Venue:  South Melbourne Town Hall, Australia 
Length: 13 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
Duo for Cello and Piano, Op. 81 no 1 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Len Vorster (Piano), David Berlin (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schirmer Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; England 
Date of Recording: 11/26/2000 
Venue:  South Melbourne Town Hall, Australia 
Length: 6 Minutes 19 Secs. 
3.
Preludes (6) for Piano, Op. 23 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Len Vorster (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; England 
Date of Recording: 01/17/2003 
Venue:  Melba Hall, University of Melbourne, Aus 
Length: 11 Minutes 45 Secs. 
4.
Concertino for Flute/Recorder, Violin, Cello and Harpsichord/Piano, Op. 49 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Masahide Kurita (Flute), Len Vorster (Piano), David Berlin (Cello),
Elizabeth Sellars (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schirmer Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
Date of Recording: 12/05/2000 
Venue:  South Melbourne Town Hall, Australia 
Length: 14 Minutes 12 Secs. 
5.
Short Pieces (5) for Piano, Op. 4 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Len Vorster (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 01/17/2003 
Venue:  Melba Hall, University of Melbourne, Aus 
Length: 6 Minutes 40 Secs. 
6.
Pieces (3) for Clarinet by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Deborah de Graaff (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 06/17/2000 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7.
Andantino for Cello and Piano, Op. 21 no 2a by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  David Berlin (Cello), Len Vorster (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schirmer Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1955; England 
Date of Recording: 04/2001 
Venue:  South Melbourne Town Hall, Australia 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
8.
Mazurka for Piano, Op. 101 no 2 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Len Vorster (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; England 
Date of Recording: 01/17/2003 
Venue:  Melba Hall, University of Melbourne, Aus 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Violin Sonatina, Op. 17: I. Moderato
Violin Sonatina, Op. 17: II. Lento
Violin Sonatina, Op. 17: III. Allegretto, Variations 1-5
5 Short Pieces, Op. 4: I. Andante
5 Short Pieces, Op. 4: II. Allegro moderato
5 Short Pieces, Op. 4: III. Allegro
5 Short Pieces, Op. 4: IV. Andante
5 Short Pieces, Op. 4: V. Allegro
Andantino, Op. 21, No. 2a: Andantino for Cello and Piano, Op. 21, No. 2a
3 Pieces: I. Moderato (in tempo rubato)
3 Pieces: II. Lento
3 Pieces: III. Allegro
Mazurka, Op. 101, No. 2: Mazurka for Piano, Op. 101, No. 2
Duo, Op. 81, No. 1: Duo for Cello and Piano, Op. 81, No. 1
6 Preludes, Op. 23: I. Allegro
6 Preludes, Op. 23: II. Andante
6 Preludes, Op. 23: III. Allegro moderato
6 Preludes, Op. 23: IV. Allegretto
6 Preludes, Op. 23: V. Allegro
6 Preludes, Op. 23: VI. Andante
Concertino, Op. 49: I. Allegro moderato
Concertino, Op. 49: II. Aria I
Concertino, Op. 49: III. Aria II
Concertino, Op. 49: IV. Vivace

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