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Celebration of the Music of Charles T. Griffes

3 Tone-Pictures Op. 5
Scherzo Op. 6 No. 3 from Fantasy Pieces
The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan
Song of the Dagger
2 Poems by John Masefield
Symphonische Phantasie (for 2 pianos)
Poem for flute and piano
Piece in E major
The White Peacock Op. 7 No. 1
3 Preludes
3 Poems by Fiona MacLeod Op. 11
Piano Sonata

Michael Lewin piano
Angela Bic soprano
Robert Honeysucker baritone
Adam Walker flute
Charles Owen piano

Wigmore Hall 25 June 2009

Michael Lewin is recognised as the champion of this short lived but innovative composer and for this, his London recital debut, he organised a worthy celebration at Wigmore Hall, attended by a substantial audience.

Songs were put over convincingly by American baritone Robert Honeysucker and English soprano Angela Bic (substituting worthily at short notice) and accompanied with especial sensitivity by Charles Owen, whose solo recital there had been particularly admired recently.

The two pianists came together for a duo account of the early unpublished orchestral symphonic fantasy. Better known was the impressionistic The White Peacock which has a tenuous hold in the repertoire and, representing Griffes' experimental phase, his 3 Preludes and Sonata (published posthuously in 1921) made the strongest impressions. Adam Walker had only one solo spot, but played the Poem so expressively that we'd wanted more from him.

A pre-concert talk had been given by Donna Anderson, copyright owner of the unpublished compositions, whose photos and extensive notes made the (free) programme one of the best seen at Wigmore Hall.

Michael Lewin's CDs of the complete Griffes piano works [Naxos American Classics 8.559023 & 8.559046] were surprisingly not on sale at the hall; the music is generally accessible and much of it beautiful; they are well recorded and annotated and there would have been a lot of takers...

Peter Grahame Woolf