52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  




Contact: Marigold, PO Box 411, Epsom, Surrey KT17 2XA, England


Phillip Dyson – By Special Request
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonata in E flat major K282 [14:27]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata in C minor Op.13 Pathetique (1798-99) [19:55]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Impromptu in F sharp minor Op.36 (1839) [6:37]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Ballade No.2 in B minor [16:44]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Images; Reflets dans l’eau (1903-07) [5:53]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Rhapsody in G minor Op.79 No.2 (1879) [6:57]
Phillip Dyson (piano)
rec. Maltings Theatre, Berwick upon Tweed, February 2004 
MARIGOLD 011 [70:33]

I last reviewed Phillip Dyson in his role as an exponent of Billy Mayerl. On that occasion, a live South Bank concert, he also took on Morton Gould, Zez Confrey and Gershwin, three other specialities of his, among others. As far as the discography is concerned it’s very much as a Mayerl man that we know Dyson but of course he was classically trained, studying with Colin Horsley, and has retained those classical chops. Devotees of Malcolm Arnold will know that the late composer was knocked out by Dyson’s playing of the Fantasy on a Theme of John Field. Dyson has also recorded the composer’s Stolen Face Ballade film music for Chandos, at Arnold’s specific request.

This is putatively at least a “By Request” programme of tried and tested favourites, ones with which Dyson feels entirely comfortable. His Mozart is attractive though there are moments of worry. His caesuri in the first movement sound a touch over done and he’s inclined to be a rather assertive Mozartian in the Minuets. The finale is thoroughly masculine, quite quick, though inclined to be a touch bland when set beside, say, Joyce Hatto.

His Pathétique begins with bold, outsize gestures, public and rhetorical. Dynamics are pushed to the limit in parts of this performance, especially when he’s been recorded at so high a level. The pulse tends to be minutely disrupted in the slow movement – which he takes at an Arrau not a Kempff tempo - and so the music never quite ideally unfolds with optimum eloquence.

His Chopin Impromptu is again caught very close and tightly so that it’s never properly intimate. He plays with straightforward control, animating things with a powerful left hand. Maybe the central section is too drivingly loud and powerful. The Brahms Rhapsody is certainly the epitome of power but whilst the left hand sculpts plenty of detail and the lyric sections are engagingly done there are moments when things are rather static and deliberate; occasionally power becomes aggression. There are also examples of his sensitive Debussy playing and a long and involving Liszt – perhaps an unusual choice in the context of this recital.

As he notes, a strictly classical recording has been a long time coming, so fans of this engaging pianist can sample his wares via the Marigold address above or through Dyson’s own website.

Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to 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.