LEO SOWERBY (1895-1968): 3 Summer Beach Sketches, H109, Suite for Piano Four Hands (played on two pianos), H371, Passacaglia, Interlude and Fugue, H207a, Prelude for 2 Pianos, H212, Fisherman’s Tune, H161b, Synconata, H76b (all First Recordings).
Catalogue Number: 12V042
Reference: CDR 7006
Description: The album’s earliest work, the Summer Beach Sketches, from 1915, shows the influence of composer-pianist Percy Grainger, with whom Sowerby studied. It’s also one of the earliest serious compositions to use jazz and blue harmonies. Composed in 1959, Suite for Piano (Four-hands) shares a kinship with the music of Samuel Barber, whom Sowerby championed, and the music of Sowerby’s former student Ned Rorem. Passacaglia, Interlude and Fugue for solo piano (1931) is a dreamy, French Impressionist take on classic forms. Prelude for Two Pianos (1932) is more Delius than Debussy, more English austerity than French sensuality. Sowerby’s brief Fisherman’s Tune is an homage to Grainger. The overture-length sonata movement Synconata, arranged for two pianos, was originally composed in 1924 as a curtain-raiser for American bandleader Paul Whiteman’s “symphonic jazz” concerts. Gail Quillman, Julia Tsien (pianos).