Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also

Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases

Symphonies 4&5 £9 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes

Let me tell you

David Pia

Beethoven Rattle

Highly Impressive

Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!

To live with

outstanding retrospective

A superb celebration

flair, insight, controversy

outstanding singing


Sheer bliss

best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release


Buy through MusicWeb for £10.00 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Purchase button

Richard HOWARD (b. 1946)
Prairie Visions - a suite for piano.
Richard Howard (piano)
rec. Zenph Studios, Raleigh, North Carolina, July 2006. DDD.
MSR CLASSICS MS1178 [62.51]


The information to support this release is rather cursory, but it is evident that composer/pianist Richard Howard is something of a polymath: a college biology professor and fencing coach in addition to being a semi-professional musician.

He is quoted as saying, "The seven pieces that make up the Prairie Visions suite are the result of 30 years of composition and refinement. The music is my homage to the Texas Great Plains, which I have called home all my life." Having never seen the Texas Great Plains myself, I can only assume that his aim in the compositions is to create sound vistas that evoke aspects of the landscape and its atmosphere. The movements have titles such as "Prairie Tempest", "Sunrise", "Haunted Mesa", "Galaxies of the Night", "Love Song of the Western Wind", "Dance of Fate" and "Sunset Refrain and Reverie". Taken as a whole the various movements could create a montage across a series of moods and times. The movements work when heard individually too, as there is next to no material that links them together.

The introductory note about Richard Howard also states that his "free nature led him to work in the Romantic Russian and French Impressionistic traditions". Indeed, the music does seem very improvised, relying more on repetition and slight variation within each movement than real thematic development. Any Russian or French influences are somewhat general and indirectly felt in this extended Texan sound landscape; certainly no specific composers are identifiable as having any meaningful impact. That could be something of a pity, as direct influences might have given Howard the composer a more individual voice. What we have though is a mixture of large gestures calculated to arrest and impact momentarily, but without long term significance, played off against dappled repeated sequences lending an air of space over a firmly fixed musical-landscape ground.

As a player Howard captures the grand sweep of his writing with ease and manages nuance adequately also. As with the composition, what I miss in his playing is the authority of his voice: that which makes you sit up and take notice. It could be the slight indistinctness that his fingering has at times, which can make forte passages a little overpowered especially given his tendency to use the sustain pedal as captured by the full bodied recording.

It is a pleasant enough disc, which Richard Howard sinks his heart into. For me, however, it is not especially memorable in terms of composition or playing, though others might feel differently.

Evan Dickerson


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.