The Sons of the Morning: Piano Music of Vaughan Williams and Gurney
Iain Burnside has a towering reputation as an accompanist, but this Albion recording (Potton Hall, 2012) represents his first solo piano recording and the world-première of the piano arrangement of Vaughan William's ballet (or 'Masque for Dancing') Job.
Vaughan Williams strongly disliked the classical style of dancing en pointe and wanted to create a style of dancing based on folk-traditions, and his work on Job from 1927 was a continuation of a long-held view on the relevance and importance of national ballet. The piano arrangement was made in the summer of 1930, to support rehearsals, by Vally Lasker (1885-1978) who was a skilful pianist, singer, viola player and conductor.
Iain Burnside is a Scottish classical pianist and accompanist, and a former presenter on BBC Radio 3. Following study at Merton College, Oxford, the Royal Academy of Music and the Chopin Academy, in Warsaw he became a freelance pianist, specialising particularly in song repertoire. He has collaborated with many singers and was particularly close to the late soprano Susan Chilcott. Other vocalists he has worked and recorded with include Laura Claycomb, Matthew Rose, Roderick Williams, with whom he has recorded the complete Finzi baritone songs, and Sarah Connolly, with a release of songs by Korngold. He has written a musical play A Soldier and a Maker on the life of Ivor Gurney, premiered in 2012. Iain has appeared on many Albion Records releases, and we are proud to present this, his first album for solo piano.
Iain Burnside also features on ALB001 Vaughan Williams: The Sky shall be our Roof, ALBCD002 Vaughan Williams: Kissing her Hair, ALBCD013 Vaughan Williams: On Christmas Day and ALBCD018 Vaughan Williams: Stars of the Night.
Posterity must be grateful that Ivor Gurney managed to write down as much music as he did, before he was struck down by mental illness in his early 30s. Besides showing what a fine pianist he must have been, Gurney's Five Preludes display radical, forward-looking gestures, along with his post-Romantic Anglo-Saxon sensibility: there is something of Scriabin in the music's supple phrasing and sharp-focus clarity of chromatic harmony.
Stephen Banfield's arrangement of the 'Rockingham' chorale prelude, originally for organ, is neatly counterbalanced here by the 'Song 13' prelude by Vaughan Williams whose The Lake in the Mountains (expanded from the film score of 49th Parallel) suggests he was a more fluent composer for the piano than legend would have it. Further, Vally Lasker's transcription of Job, made for rehearsals of this magnificent 'masque for dancing', is so skilled that it almost amounts to a performing version in its own right.
Iain Burnside presents impressive solo credentials: the serious technical demands of the Job arrangement cause him no problems, while his flair for conjuring orchestra-like colours from the keyboard is of the very highest standard of play. -- Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine, January 2013
- Gurney: Five Preludes: Prelude in F sharp major
- Gurney: Five Preludes: Prelude in A minor
- Gurney: Five Preludes: Prelude in D flat
- Gurney: Five Preludes: Prelude in F sharp
- Gurney: Five Preludes: Prelude in D
- Gurney: Choral Prelude on Rockingham
- Vaughan Williams: The Lake in the Mountains
- Vaughan Williams: Hymn Tune prelude on Song 13
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Introduction
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Pastoral Dance
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Satan's appeal to God
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Saraband of the Sons of God
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 1 Satan's Dance of Triumph
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 3 Minuet of the sons of Job and their wives
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 4 Job's dream
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 4 Dance of plague, pestilence, famine and battle
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 5 Dance of the three messengers
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 5 Job blesses God
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 6 Dance of Job's comforters, Job's curse, a vision of Satan
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 7 Elihu's dance of youth and beauty
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 7 Pavane of the Sons of the Morning
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 8 Galliard of the Sons of the Morning
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 8 Altar dance and heavenly pavane
- Vaughan Williams: Job: Scene 9 Epilogue
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