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Center: Piano Music / Christopher Guild

Center / Guild,Christopher
Release Date: 01/28/2014 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: 179   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CENTER Piano Sonata. 6 Bagatelles. Andante . Sarabande. Air. Pantomime. Larghetto . Sonatine. 3 Etudes. Impromptu. 3 Movements for Piano Christopher Guild (pn) TOCCATA 0179 (69:48)


This is a very enjoyable recital of nearly all of the solo piano music by the Scottish composer Ronald Center, who died in 1973. As far as I can Read more tell, this is first recording of many of these works, unless there are older recordings that are no longer available. Toccata Classics indicates that the Sonata and the Bagatelles are indeed the only compositions that are not premiered here, but neither of those works seems to be available elsewhere at this time. The obscurity of the music is somewhat puzzling, as it is brilliantly constructed and very easy on the ear. As the titles of the pieces indicate, Center was a traditionally oriented composer, who made his living in rural Scotland as an educator. According to the notes, he mainly wrote this music for his own enjoyment. The combination of his extreme modesty and the general lack of support for art music in his homeland guaranteed his limited career, although the composer Walter Susskind championed at least one of his works, a Divertimento for Chamber Orchestra.


The program notes refer to Center at the Scottish Bartók, but I would characterize his use of native folk music more along the genial, but still adventuresome, manner of Grieg. Yes, there is some spikiness here and there, but mainly Center’s music is brisk, rich, and tuneful. The classically constructed Piano Sonata is the most ambitious work here, and was the composer’s personal favorite. It is a solid, big-boned piece, well deserving of greater exposure. Much of the music, even the smaller pieces, sounds highly virtuosic, and so hats off to the superb young Scottish pianist Christopher Guild for taking this on. Kudos as well, as usual, to Toccata Classics, which has been broadening the catalog of solo piano recordings with notable adventure and consistently fine productions.


FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1.
Bagatelles (6) for Piano, Op. 3 by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Scotland 
2.
Etudes (3) for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Impromptu for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Movements (3) for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Sonatine for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Larghetto for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7.
Hommage for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
8.
Andante, Sarabande and Air for Piano by Ronald Center
Performer:  Christopher Guild (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Piano Sonata: I. Allegro molto
Piano Sonata: II. Adagio
Piano Sonata: III. Andante - Presto ed appassionato - Allegro
Piano Sonata: IV. Molto allegro
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: No. 1. Poco adagio e teneramente
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: No. 2. Allegro
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: No. 3. Mesto
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: No. 4. Energico e ritmico
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: No. 5. Andantino
6 Bagatelles, Op. 3: No. 6. Vivo
Andante
Sarabande
Air
Pantomime: No. 1. Pantaloon
Pantomime: No. 2. Columbine
Pantomime: No. 3. Harlequin
Larghetto
Sonatine: I. Allegro
Sonatine: II. Poco adagio
Sonatine: III. Vivace
Hommage
3 Etudes: No. 1. Presto
3 Etudes: No. 2. Andante
3 Etudes: No. 3. Allegro moto
Impromptu
3 Movements: No. 1. Prelude
3 Movements: No. 2. Poco Adagio
3 Movements: No. 3. Toccata

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