Thomas Pitfield: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Thomas Pitfield: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

by Peter Donohoe
     
 

Prolific composers often bank on the sheer volume of their work to guarantee immortality, but even with hundreds of works and numerous collections to his credit, Thomas Pitfield remains one of the most neglected of modern British composers. This is a pity, since much of his music is well-crafted and delightful; and though Pitfield was less than original in his style -… See more details below

Overview

Prolific composers often bank on the sheer volume of their work to guarantee immortality, but even with hundreds of works and numerous collections to his credit, Thomas Pitfield remains one of the most neglected of modern British composers. This is a pity, since much of his music is well-crafted and delightful; and though Pitfield was less than original in his style -- often deriving inspiration from his continental contemporaries -- his work was technically accomplished and more than a little diverting in its verve and color. This 2005 Naxos release is an agreeable introduction to Pitfield's impressive but under-recorded oeuvre, and features examples of some of his most substantial works. The "Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor" is a light and engaging showpiece, plainly indebted to Ravel's "Piano Concerto in G major" in its flavor and presentation, yet gentler in expression, and considerably simpler in its keyboard part. Anthony Gladstone plays the solo with conviction and vitality, and brings a percussive edge to the work that keeps it dry and witty. For the "Piano Concerto No. 2" and several solo studies and miniatures, pianist Peter Donohoe takes over and presents Pitfield's music with similar energy and flair, though with what seems a rounder, warmer sound. The Royal Northern College of Music Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Penny, gives solid, if understated, support in the two concertos, but because most of this program is devoted to the unaccompanied piano works, the listener's attention is necessarily drawn to Donohoe's performances, more than the others. In the "Studies on an English Dance Tune," the "Arietta and Finale," and especially in the "Toccata," he demonstrates exuberance and humor and makes these clever pieces sound sophisticated and droll, rather like the best piano miniatures by Poulenc. But Donohoe also shows off an unexpected side talent as a percussionist in his crisp reading of the "Xylophone Sonata," a tricky piece technically but apparently no hurdle for this versatile musician. Naxos offers its usual fine reproduction and the generous selection of pieces makes this disc a worthwhile collection for anyone curious enough to try the music of a minor but highly productive and ingenious composer.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/18/2005
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313229123
catalogNumber:
8557291
Rank:
240913

Tracks

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor  - Thomas Pitfield  - Anthony Goldstone  - Andrew Penny  -  Royal Northern College of Music Orchestra
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2  - Thomas Pitfield  - Peter Donohoe  - Andrew Penny  -  Royal Northern College of Music Orchestra
  3. Studies on an English Dance, for piano  - Thomas Pitfield  - Peter Donohoe
  4. Arietta and Finale, for piano  - Thomas Pitfield  - Peter Donohoe
  5. Toccata, for piano  - Thomas Pitfield  - Peter Donohoe
  6. Xylophone Sonata  - Thomas Pitfield  - Peter Donohoe

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