A Madness Most Discreet: Love in Piano Music | Champs Hill Records CHRCD093

A Madness Most Discreet: Love in Piano Music


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Label: Champs Hill Records

Cat No: CHRCD093

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 29th April 2016



New Zealand pianist Stephen De Pledge’s new album of solo piano music takes its title from a line in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and presents a selection of ‘Love in Piano Music’.

He begins with Kinderszenen by Robert Schumann, deceptively simple pieces which are reflections on childhood, written for his beloved Clara Wieck two years before they were finally granted permission to marry.

It was Liszt who first described the great final aria in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde as her ‘Liebestod’ (love-death), and his famous transcription made for solo piano in 1868 and revised in 1875 is perhaps the ultimate expression of a ‘love song’ for piano.

A landscape with too few lovers, painted by the New Zealand artist Colin McCahon, inspired compatriot composer Ross Harris (born 1945) to write this piece for Stephen De Pledge.

Goyescas by the Spanish composer Enrique Granados is in two parts and ‘Los Requiebros’ (Endearments) is heard here. It is by turns flamboyant, seductive, and unmistakably virtuosic. Granados himself gave the suite’s premiere in 1911.

Prokofiev’s arrangement of Ten Pieces for piano solo from Romeo and Juliet was the composer’s attempt to salvage some of his music from the original ballet score after the director of the Bolshoi, due to premiere the work in the 1935-6 season, was arrested as an ‘enemy of the people’ and shot.

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