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William Alwyn – Selected Works For Piano Solo

5:01, 29th January 2016

The English composer William Alwyn (1905-85) is best remembered as the
prolific and skilful composer of more than 50 fi lm scores. His late-Romantic style can also be heard in his concert works for piano solo. These were championed
magnificently by the late John Ogdon (Chandos) and include strikingly
individual works such as the Fantasy Waltzes (clearly infl uenced by Ravel and
Schubert) and a rhythmically incisive Sonata alla Toccata.

Alwyn’s concert pieces are but the tip of a substantial iceberg, as this first volume of his piano works makes clear. In fact, he wrote around 150 pieces for piano in total. Volume 1 focuses on the composer’s most technically approachable miniatures, most of which will be unknown to the majority of pianists and teachers.

This is a pity, as there is much that is not only worthy here, but also a number of pieces that are poignant and charged in a way that deserves attention.
Included in this category is Spring Morning, an exquisite miniature suite of
three pieces which are economically constructed yet with tremendous character.
Tactile pleasure can also be found in the collections of easy pieces entitled Peter in the Park and The Weather Vane. Look out too for the laudable if rather less individual Wooden Walls: A Suite of Sea Pieces, together with Alwyn’s last solo piano work, Twelve Diversions for the Five Fingers. Much of this music is being published for the first time and offers a feast of worthy material mainly for players of Grades 1-3 level, but with some useful pieces for those hovering around Grades 4-5.
MURRAY MCLACHLAN

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