This is an enterprising disc although Bach transcriptions and modern Australian
piano music make strange bedfellows. Trevor Barnard is both an accomplished
and highly experienced pianist. I recall with much pleasure his performance
with Sir Malcolm Sargent of the splendid Bliss Piano Concerto many
By far the most impressive pieces on this disc are the Busoni transcriptions
which are further reminders of this multi-talented Italian pianist. He was
instrumental in bringing many of Bachs works to the public attention
as indeed was Myra Hess with her famous transcription of the ever-popular,
if hackneyed, Jesus, Joy of Mans Desiring. I feel that this
performance is too self-indulgent and I become infuriated at the unjustified
slowing down at the end of the piece. It is not indicated in my score of
Cantata 147 from which it comes. This rallentando device used by many
pianists and orchestras in Baroque and classical music is really frustrating.
It makes the music predictable and weak. It reminds me of Bryden Thompsons
remark, "If I hear another Baroque perfect cadence loving lingered over I
shall retire to the golf course."
Margaret Sutherland (1897-1984) was a pupil of Bax and her transcriptions
of Bach are acceptable. Her two suites are very brief and not particularly
interesting merely revealing a quest for an individual style. It would have
been preferable if Barnard had presented a major work of hers and not these
two sets of flimsy miniatures.
Felix Werder (born 1922) was born in Germany and his style is his own but
it will not suit everyone. Nonetheless his personal integrity is to be admired.
His work is the most original on the disc. Nigel Butterly (born 1935) is
represented by a mere 94 seconds and, again, a more substantial piece would
have been both welcomed and preferable.
The sleeve notes leave much to be desired.