GERARD SCHURMANN (b.1924): 2 Ballades for Piano “Homage to Janáček”, 4 Pastoral Preludes for Piano, Sonatina for Flute and Piano, Moonbird for Solo Flute, for Tenor and Piano: 6 Songs of William Blake, Chuench’i: Song Cycle from the Chinese.
Catalogue Number: 07V047
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0520
Description: Another welcome volume in this ongoing appraisal of Schurmann's voluminous output for smaller forces. His accessible vocabulary, based firmly in tonality but freely using a wide range of compositional techniques, is shown to great advantage in his songs, from the cycle of youthful impressions from Chinese poetry to the Blake settings. John McCabe hailed Schurmann's songs as " ... not songs with piano accompaniment but rather chamber music for voice and piano.", and the ingenious harmonic coloring in the piano part contributes greatly to the songs' character and atmosphere. The major work on the disc is arguably the homage to Janáček, Two Ballades, from the early 1980s. These substantial pieces, inspired by the towns of Hukvaldy and Brno and the landscape surrounding them, are powerful and atmospheric, pianistically challenging, and redolent of the spirit of the Czech composer, and sometimes his style and idiom. The flute Sonatina is also substantial, fully exploiting the technical and expressive possibilities of the flute, with some piquant modernistic touches spicing up its vocabulary. Texts included. Randall Bills (tenor), Maxim Rubtsov (tenor), Mark Robson, Mikhail Korzhev (piano - Sonatina).