- Piano Concerto in D
- Fantasie Variations on a Swedish Air
- Piano Trio in G major
- Piano Quartet in E minor, Op. 43
Though the great English composer and pedagogue Charles Stanford numbered Vaughan Williams, Holst, Bridge, Ireland, and Coleridge-Taylor among his pupils, he himself acknowledged his most talented pupil to be William Hurlstone. If you have never heard of Hurlstone, that's because this two-disc Lyrita set constitutes a third of his entire discography -- and most of his oeuvre. Blessed with talent and cursed with chronic bronchial asthma that put him in his grave at 30, Hurlstone concentrated his prodigious talents on instrumental music and produced many attractive works in a variety of genres. This set includes examples of both his orchestral and his chamber works. The first disc contains his two finest orchestral pieces: the "Piano Concerto in D" and "Fantasie-Variations on a Swedish Air." Pianist Eric Parkin turns in a persuasive account of the lyrical yet virtuosic concerto. As accompanists for Parkin in the concerto, Nicholas Braithwaite and the London Philharmonic Orchestra provide firm support, while on their own they make a compelling case for the "Fantasie-Variations." The second disc includes two of Hurlstone's better chamber works: the "Piano Trio in G major" and "Piano Quartet in E minor." Both are given performances by the Tunnell Piano Quartet that bring out the music's strong themes without undervaluing its cogent forms. At first listening, Hurlstone's music may recall Dvorák's in its tunefulness and Brahms' in its technique. But it also has a clearly identifiable musical individuality. In the sparkling "Piano Concerto," for example, Hurlstone's ingratiating manner of blending themes and forms is entirely his own and entirely appealing. Anyone who loves English music of the fin de siècle should by all means check out these two discs. Recorded in the '70s, Lyrita's stereo sound is clear, present, and immediate.