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William Murdoch: The Complete Columbia Solo Electrical Recordings


Release Date: 09/06/2019 
Label:  Apr Recordings   Catalog #: 1508179  
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnFrédéric ChopinRobert SchumannFranz Liszt,   ... 
Performer:  William Murdoch
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Australian pianist William Murdoch (1888–1942) is almost forgotten today but was a major UK Columbia recording artist in the 1920s. A consummate musician, he was known as a chamber player as much as a soloist, as evidenced by many recordings, but was also the first pianist to record Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto (acoustically in 1925). Amongst his solo recordings, pride of place must go to the two Beethoven sonatas which burst with energy and passion while never descending into superficiality. A little known and fascinating part of his legacy is his recording of the eight test pieces written for the National Piano Competition of 1928 organized by the Daily Express. This unique event was open to pianists of all abilities from beginner to Read more advanced and the specially commissioned pieces, by contemporary British composers, reflected these different levels. Murdoch’s recordings originally came with spoken commentaries on interpretation.

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REVIEWS:

Murdoch’s exemplary pianism and intelligent musicianship consistently make themselves felt. The pianist himself singled out his 1927 Chopin Third Ballade as a favourite. One can hear why: his fluently impassioned yet thoughtfully parsed interpretations ebbs and flows with naturalness and inevitability. Murdoch’s solo Beethoven, however, proves this collection’s prize.

– Gramophone

The two Beethoven 'named' sonatas are the most substantial works in Murdoch's Columbia discography and, despite the thin sound and shellac crackle, they stand up to scrutiny very well. The Pathétique opens in solemn and dramatic vein, with sufficient gravitas. The outer movements are briskly paced, with the finale sparkling and extrovert. I like the way the Adagio cantabile second movement is devoid of sentimentality, and the slightly faster tempo he adopts works well. The Appassionata has a wonderful sense of structure and is technically accomplished, with excitement running throughout. The drama of the outer movements is dispatched with burning intensity.

Murdoch draws a warm, rounded tone in the Chopin Berceuse, with the variations embroidered with diaphanous lace. The composer's Third Ballade has a convincing sense of shape, and is imbued with poetic expression. Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.12 is a muscular reading with the trills piercingly brilliant. It has to be one of the finest and most dazzling outings this popular piece has ever had. There are two renditions of the ubiquitous Prelude in C sharp minor by Rachmaninov from 1926 and 1931. Both are rhetorically eloquent, with the later one being in much better sound. The Debussy selection of three pieces showcases Murdoch's myriad tonal palette. The Albéniz and de Falla pieces are shot through with a convincing Iberian zest.

– MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Songs without words, vol 3, Op. 38: no 6, Andante con moto in A flat major "Duetto" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
2.
Songs without words, vol 5, Op. 62: no 6, Andante grazioso in A major "Spring Song" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
3.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 1 in A flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Paris, France 
4.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34: no 3 in F major, B 118 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Paris, France 
5.
Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
6.
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
7.
Romances (3) for Piano, Op. 28: no 2 in F sharp major by Robert Schumann
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Germany 
8.
Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang by Franz Liszt
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
9.
Grandes Etudes (6) de Paganini, S 141: no 3, La Campanella by Franz Liszt
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
10.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 12 in C sharp minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
11.
Ständchen "Horch, horch!" (Schubert) for Piano, S 558 no 9 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; France 
12.
Military Marches (3) for Piano 4 hands, D 733/Op. 51: no 1 in D major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Waltzes (16) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 39: no 15 in A flat major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Austria 
14.
Humoresques (6) for Piano, Op. 14: no 1, Menuet célèbre by Ignace Jan Paderewski
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887-1888; Poland 
15.
Pictures (3) from life in the country, Op. 19: no 2, The bridal procession passes by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
16.
Kuolema: Valse triste, Op. 44 no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1904; Finland 
17.
Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 2, Prélude in C sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
18.
Preludes (10) for Piano, Op. 23: no 5 in G minor, Alla marcia by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
19.
Preludes (13) for Piano, Op. 32: no 12 in G sharp minor, Allegro by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Russia 
20.
Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 2, Prélude in C sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
21.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
23.
Chorale Preludes (6) BWV 645-650 "Schübler": no 1, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1748-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
24.
Préludes, Book 1: no 5, Les collines d'Anacapri by Claude Debussy
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
25.
Préludes, Book 2: no 5, Bruyères by Claude Debussy
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
26.
Préludes, Book 1: no 12, Minstrels by Claude Debussy
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
27.
Suite Iberia, Book 1: no 2, El puerto by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904-1906; France 
28.
Piezas Españolas (4) for Piano: no 2, Cubana by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1908; Spain 
29.
Piezas Españolas (4) for Piano: no 4, Andaluza by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1908; Spain 
30.
Miniature Scherzo by Adam Carse
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
31.
Sun & Shade by Richard Henry Walthew
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
32.
Dew Fairies by Thomas Dunhill
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
33.
Legend by E. Markham Lee
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
34.
Le bal poudre, Op. 54 by Orlando Morgan
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
35.
The Rambling Sailor by Alec Rowley
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
36.
Serenata by Felix Swinstead
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
37.
Primrose Mount by George Dyson
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; England 
38.
Reverie for Piano in B Major, Op. 86 by York Bowen
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
39.
Sonatina for Piano: III. Rondo by John Ireland
Performer:  William Murdoch (Piano)

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