Barbagallo, now sadly passed away, was a man with a mission. Perhaps rather
like John Ogdon he delighted in supporting the neglected and worthwhile.
Many others have turned their back on Macdowell's 'simple charms' and consigned
him to what used to be a common fixture in every middle class house: the
His music is from the same firmament as Grieg and Schumann: a gentle romance
hangs over his music only buffeted with rougher winds in the sonatas. The
present collection avoids those cooler climes and concentrates on 34 character
pieces - all in just over an hour.
Charm, lyricism, reticence, honesty, and inspired affection are the hallmarks
of a Macdowell sketch. Some of the titles may remind us of Medtner but the
language is simpler. If the salon suggests itself as you listen to these
slender morsels it is at least a salon of higher aspiration rather than one
of maudlin narrow horizons.
The performances are bred of respect and affection in equal measure. The
Haunted House might be an opportunity for goblins of the psyche but if
it is darker than the rest it is only by the subtlest shading. There is a
brittle brightness in the final track Joy of Autumn. Sinding's rustling
leaves are perhaps not that far off but closer yet is the slender romance
of Grieg's Last Spring in this collection of drift and unpretentious