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York Bowen & popular favourites

Liszt - Concert Study No 3, Un Sospiro
Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet, Danse of the Montagues & The Capulets
Chopin - Grande Valse in A flat, Op 42; Berceuse, Op 57
Liszt - Liebestraume No 3 in A flat; Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C sharp
Mendelssohn - Songs without words Op 19b No 1
Gershwin arr Earl Wild - Etude on I got Rhythm
Kreisler arr Rachmaninov - Liebesfreud

York Bowen - Sonata in B flat Op 160 (1961)

Warren Mailley-Smith

Quartz QTZ203 3 [Purchase the CD or download tracks]

This is a captivating programme, with easy command of all the (mostly popular) music chosen, Warren Mailley-Smith's playing characterised by a refusal to show off his virtuosity flamboyantly - do I rightly detect the influence of one of his later teachers, Peter Feuchtwanger?

York Bowen (1884–1961), who never espoused modernism, continued to compose in a style which owed something to Rachmaninov and the French impressionists. In this sonata from his last year there is a touch of jazzy harmony in the middle movement. It is worth while revisiting composers of the earlier 20th C and this exhumation is well justified.

I have recently been castigated for what some think is an excessive concern about presentation and readability... Mailley-Smith (who has a formidably sophisticated website) and his Quartz team may be congratulated on getting it quite right, from my stance. Good black on white printing of succinct notes on each item in large clear type, and a striking cover image. One needs no more. I look forward to hearing him play live.

Peter Grahame Woolf

P.S. Warren Mailley-Smith's career appears to have taken off ! He has sent me his first DVD of popular "standards", recorded live at St Martin in the Field, which will be a useful 'visiting card' and for making available at his concert appearances. He will be playing a very similar programme there on October 12 2010 and we wish him every good luck.

PGW October 2010