MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Trevor HOLD (1939-2004)
Kemp’s Nine Daies Wonder (1970) [26:29]
The Lilford Owl (1972) [15:03]
Kaleidoscopes (1989) [35:07]
After Henry (1995) [17:29]
Old Wine, New Bottles (Improvisations on British Folksongs) (2000) [24:28]
Four-and-Seven Blackbirds (Improvisations on English Children’s Songs) (2000) [16:06]
Period Pieces (1975) [15:42]
Peter Jacobs (piano)
Rec. 1987, St. Silas, Kentish Town; 1992, Rosslyn Hill Chapel; 2020, Wyastone Concert Hall, UK
HERITAGE RECORDINGS HTGCD294/5 [76:51 + 74:06]

This is a most enjoyable pair of discs. Several of the works utilize pre-existing music in different ways but always in an original manner. While very approachable, they demonstrate a complete command of musical form, and especially, structure. Most importantly, Trevor Hold comes through as a composer of unique imagination.

Trevor Hold was born in Northampton and after studying at the University of Nottingham, held positions at Aberystwyth, Liverpool, and Leicester (Catalogue of compositions). In the early seventies he returned to Northampton and quickly became a fixture of the local musical scene. Hold wrote prolifically in all forms and at the same time was a published poet, producing three volumes of verse. Song-cycles were his favorite means of musical expression (review) and up to now have been his main representation on disc. Nb. See also Dutton CDLX7213. With this set by Peter Jacobs we now have a different side of a composer of definitely more than local importance.

Hold’s best-known piano work is the 1970 Kemp’s Nine Daies Wonder, a description of the clown Will Kemp’s nine days Morris Dance from London to Norwich in 1599. Kemp was a colleague of Shakespeare, and after performing his ‘wonder”, with regular stops to rest, published a pamphlet describing his feat, perhaps an early example of performance art, in 1600. Hold based his piano suite on this pamphlet, nine pieces in dance forms, one for each day. But they are in twentieth century dance forms, not Elizabethan. After the first day, with its mixture of Bartok and Boogie-Woogie, and the contrasting second day, there is a slow third day in Chelmsford, and on the fourth day Kemp has a fall, cleverly depicted. Days five and seven follow, the first full of mystery and the second formed on a bass. The eighth day pays homage to Gershwin and the ninth portrays Kemp’s triumphant entry into Norwich.

Enjoyable as is Kemp’s Nine Daies Wonder, I found Kaleidoscopes, from 1989, more expressive. Hold here attempts to write a piano suite of six pieces, each in the musical equivalent of the Italian literary sestina form. Owl Light is mysterious, almost in the Hollywood “Haunted House” style but structurally very compelling. Marigolds is Hold’s homage to Billy Mayerl’s well-known piece, but with twists and turns that Mayerl would have been hard-put to recognize and From the Isle of Mull is based on a tune from one of Margery Kennedy-Fraser’s collections, treated with both respect and imagination. Poppies are very different flowers from Marigolds and Hold’s Poppies expresses the composer’s anger at the concept of war, with a reference to Britten’s War Requiem. This is a very moving piece. The Ballade is another highlight, with consummate thematic and harmonic development. Hold described Musical Clocks as his closest approach to Minimalism, although to me it seemed almost as haunted as Owl Light.

Hold liked to take folksongs and dances, children’s songs, old ballads, etc. and treat them as his own, which treatment could differ widely from one set of pieces to another. The pieces from The Lilford Owl are folk-song preludes in which the arrangement is the “composed” element and the tunes themselves are not much altered, although the seventh, Michael Finnigan, definitely makes it into the twentieth century. Hold gives far more development to his tunes in the suites Old Wine, New Bottles and Four-and-Seven Blackbirds. This Old Man in the latter suite is lots of fun and Lavender Blue, in several keys at once, is quite original. In Old Wine, New Bottles we have My Robin is to the greenwood gone as a a dirge and both The Green Bed and Caleno custurame turned into mini-sets of variations. As for The twelve days of Christmas, you have never heard it like this.

The suite After Henry has nothing to do with ITV series from the 1980’s nor with Joan Didion’s book from about the same time. It has everything to do with the tri-centenary of the death of Henry Purcell, being Hold’s take on a variety of pieces by the great composer, some slightly modified, some completely rewritten. In the Prelude the seventeenth and twentieth centuries collide almost immediately, but in such a manner as to appear inevitable. Most unusual of the pieces is the March, which Hold combines with one of Grieg’s Slåtter Op. 72, hence the sub-title “Purcell goes to Norway”. In the Minuet Hold takes Purcell’s original rhythms and effortlessly transforms them into modern ones before the listener has even noticed. The Hornpipe is similarly treated while four of Purcell’s Grounds are combined with perfect ease. The Jigg succinctly sums up the whole cycle.

According to the notes by Peter Jacobs, Hold wrote four sets of “Period Pieces”, the last “consisting of seven pieces written in the ‘novelty’ style of the 1920’s and 30’s.” My favorites were the Canonic Boogie, alternately wistful and sad, and the Solemn Blues, evoking for me the trudging along of the soldiers in WWI.

Peter Jacobs has long been known for his explorations of the byways of English and French piano music. He was a colleague and friend of Trevor Hold for the last twenty years of the composer’s life and did much to promote his music in performance and on disc. His recordings of Hold’s music, recorded in 1987 and 1992, are re-released here as the first of the two discs in this set, while the second disc was newly recorded this past February. Given Jacobs’ long association with Hold and his music these performances must be considered authoritative, and in addition no one could better Jacobs’ understanding of the composer’s mixture of humor and technical facility.

William Kreindler

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount