GERARD SCHURMANN (b.1924): Duo for Violin and Piano, Leotaurus - Theme and Variations for Piano, Autumn Leaves for Violin and Piano, Contrasts for Piano.
Catalogue Number: 08O068
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0133
Description: Three of these works are from the '70s and 80s, and like much of Schurmann's music of that period, they are sinewy, tightly organised pieces, emphasizing clarity of counterpoint and structure in cyclic, variation or thematic metamorphosis forms in an extended tonal vocabulary. The Duo consists of five contrasting movements including a tranquil nocturne and a technically formidable scherzo. The title of Leotaurus is a play on the astrological signs of Tamás Vásáry, for whom the work was written, and his wife. The two heraldic animals alternate variations of widely varied character in idiomatic piano writing of comprehensive technical scope and virtuosity (Schurmann is a bona fide pianist-composer, and aside from Vásáry, counted John Ogdon among his champions, so the quality of his piano writing is no surprise). Contrasts was in fact written for Ogdon, and consists of five movements suggested by weather phenomena, requiring both transcendental virtuosity and a vast sonorous palette in organ-like textures. The much more recent Autumn Leaves is more mellow and Romantic than the earlier works, tinged with melancholy and nostalgia. Alyssa Park (violin), Mikhail Korzhev (piano).