Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Bax, Bowen, Haydn, Schumann, Chopin, Scriabin, Debussy & Albeniz.
Guy Jonson (piano)
Libra MNU 9910 [74 mins] (PGW)
libra records

Echoes from a Golden Era

1. HAYDN Variations in F minor, Hob. XV11/6 (1783) (9' 38")
2. SCHUMANN Arabesque, Op.18 (7' 28")
3. SCHUMANN Träumerei (Dreaming) Op.13 (3' 04")
4. CHOPIN Waltz in D flat major, Op.64 No.1. (2' 00")
5. CHOPIN Waltz in C sharp minor, Op.64 No.2 (3' 34")
6. CHOPIN Nocturne in F sharp major, Op.15 No.2 (4' 08")
7. SCRIABIN Poem No.1 Op.32 (4' 10")
8. SCRIABIN Poem No.2 Op.32 (2' 08")
9. BAX Nocturne (9' 24")
10. BAX Gopak (6' 47")
11. YORK BOWEN Prelude No.8 in E flat minor (2' 38")
12. YORK BOWEN Prelude No.10 in E minor (1' 40")
13. DEBUSSY Prelude 'Bruyeres' (3' 27")
14. DEBUSSY Prelude 'General Lavine' (Eccentric) (3' 16")
15. DEBUSSY Prelude 'La fille aux cheveux de lin' (2' 45")
16. ALBENIZ Tango (3' 57")
17. ALBENIZ Seguidillas. From Chants d'Espagne. Op.232 No.5 (3' 46")

Here's one to cheer those of us well past the 'youf' stage! Forget (for the time being) your celebrity virtuosi & the latest whiz-kid, and celebrate the wisdom of maturity.

Guy Jonson was born in 1914 & broadcast in 1924! After World War II he devoted his life to teaching at the Royal Academy in London, where he is said to have become 'a legend'. Many of his pupils joined a capacity audience at Wigmore Hall in 1995 for a recital to celebrate his long career.

This CD was recorded in 1998; I do not care for its title Echoes from a Golden Era because no allowances which that might suggest are called for. I started listening to this programme of short pieces, including many popular favourites, in the middle, with two Scriabin Poems & rarely played pieces by Bax & York Bowen, and was captivated by Jonson's beautiful tone, natural rubato and gradation of dynamics. I was a little apprehensive about my favourite F minor Haydn variations from an elderly pianist who might not have gone along with the authentic instrument revolution, but it is a beautifully judged performance, with scrupulous management of rests and delightful subtle strokes all the way. Schumann's Arabesque is leisurely, with just the right amount of rubato and the mainly small pieces by all the composers receive full justice. Jonson's Traumerei is a marvellous demonstration that virtuosity is not just about speed and power!

Peter Grahame Woolf

Try also two bargain boxed sets of fine pianists who played into extreme old age, Vlado Perlemuter [Nimbus NI 1764] and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, who was admired by Murray Perahia and was still recording at 97[Elektra Nonesuch 7559-79261-2]. PGW.

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