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Mark Bebbington|The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams

The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams

Rebeca Omordia & Mark Bebbington

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Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote little piano music, and even on this collection of solo and duo piano works much of what you hear is adapted from other music. Given the fluency of the piano writing here, it's a little hard to understand why the instrument was neglected, inasmuch as the world in which Vaughan Williams worked was full of piano concerts, presented in places much like Birmingham's Adrian Boult Hall, where Somm does excellent engineering work here. There are two sets of short pieces that present snatches of the composer's melodic gift. There are adaptations of music by Bach, Tallis, and Gibbons; the first of these (track 3) is quite notable for the density with which the Bach material is reworked, in an almost Busonian treatment. There are piano versions of other works by Vaughan Williams himself; you can sample The Lake in the Mountains (track 1), a top-drawer piece of pastoral Vaughan Williams taken from one of his underrated film scores from after World War II. But most impressive of all is a piece of entirely original music, and one that hardly resembles anything else Vaughan Williams wrote. The Introduction and Fugue for two pianos of 1946 is a massive contrapuntal essay. It is certainly inspired by Bach, but Bachian counterpoint is thoroughly reimagined in terms of Vaughan Williams' own modal harmonic thinking, and the fact that it's a major intellectual accomplishment that pretty much stands alone is remarkable. If "intellectual" is not a word you have often applied to Vaughan Williams, listen to this and think again. The work is also a powerhouse of pianism, and British music specialist Mark Bebbington and Romanian-Nigerian pianist Rebeca Omordia keep the lines clear even in highly tangled circumstances. Recorded here for the first time, it's a neglected masterwork, well worth your money and time. The rest is highly recommended for Vaughan Williams lovers; the Introduction and Fugue is highly recommended for anybody.
© TiVo

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The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams

Mark Bebbington

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The Lake in the Mountains (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

1
The Lake in the Mountains
00:05:35

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

Introduction & Fugue (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

2
Introduction & Fugue
00:17:22

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Rebeca Omordia, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

6 Schubler Chorales, BWV 645-650 (arr. R. Vaughan Williams) (Johann Sebastian Bach)

3
6 Schübler Chorales, Op. 5: Ach bleib' bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 649 (arr. R. Vaughan Williams for piano)
00:05:49

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (arr. M. Jacobson for 2 pianos) (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

4
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (Arr. M. Jacobson for 2 Pianos)
00:12:30

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Rebeca Omordia, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Maurice Jacobson, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

Hymn Tune Prelude on Song 13 by Orlando Gibbons (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

5
Hymn Tune Prelude on Song 13 by Orlando Gibbons
00:04:44

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

Fantasia on Greensleeves (arr. for piano duet)

6
Fantasia on Greensleeves (Arr. for Piano Duet)
00:03:54

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Rebeca Omordia, Piano - Anonymous, Composer - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

A Little Piano Book (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

7
Valse Lente
00:01:32

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

8
Nocturne
00:01:38

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

9
Canon
00:01:05

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

10
Two-Part Invention in F
00:01:14

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

11
Two-Part Invention in E-Flat
00:00:58

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

12
Two-Part Invention in G
00:00:53

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

Suite of 6 Short Pieces (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

13
No. 1. Prelude
00:01:40

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

14
No. 2. Slow dance
00:01:45

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

15
No. 3. Quick dance
00:02:10

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

16
No. 4. Slow air
00:03:08

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

17
No. 5. Rondo
00:02:38

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

18
No. 6. Pezzo ostinato
00:02:22

Mark Bebbington, Piano - Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer

(C) 2017 SOMM Recordings (P) 2017 SOMM Recordings

Album Description

Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote little piano music, and even on this collection of solo and duo piano works much of what you hear is adapted from other music. Given the fluency of the piano writing here, it's a little hard to understand why the instrument was neglected, inasmuch as the world in which Vaughan Williams worked was full of piano concerts, presented in places much like Birmingham's Adrian Boult Hall, where Somm does excellent engineering work here. There are two sets of short pieces that present snatches of the composer's melodic gift. There are adaptations of music by Bach, Tallis, and Gibbons; the first of these (track 3) is quite notable for the density with which the Bach material is reworked, in an almost Busonian treatment. There are piano versions of other works by Vaughan Williams himself; you can sample The Lake in the Mountains (track 1), a top-drawer piece of pastoral Vaughan Williams taken from one of his underrated film scores from after World War II. But most impressive of all is a piece of entirely original music, and one that hardly resembles anything else Vaughan Williams wrote. The Introduction and Fugue for two pianos of 1946 is a massive contrapuntal essay. It is certainly inspired by Bach, but Bachian counterpoint is thoroughly reimagined in terms of Vaughan Williams' own modal harmonic thinking, and the fact that it's a major intellectual accomplishment that pretty much stands alone is remarkable. If "intellectual" is not a word you have often applied to Vaughan Williams, listen to this and think again. The work is also a powerhouse of pianism, and British music specialist Mark Bebbington and Romanian-Nigerian pianist Rebeca Omordia keep the lines clear even in highly tangled circumstances. Recorded here for the first time, it's a neglected masterwork, well worth your money and time. The rest is highly recommended for Vaughan Williams lovers; the Introduction and Fugue is highly recommended for anybody.
© TiVo

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