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Kenneth Hamilton Plays Ronald Stevenson Vol.2

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Following the outstanding acclaim offered to the first CD of this series, Prima Facie is proud to present Volume 2 of Kenneth Hamilton plays Ronald Stevenson.

Hamilton, a former student, friend and colleague of the composer, performs Stevenson's music with "understanding and brilliance" (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review). Volume 2 features a riveting collection of Celtic pieces, including the coruscating Keening Sang for a Makar, Stevenson's complete Purcell transcriptions, and the first recording of the wonderfully witty Threepenny Sonatina, based on themes from Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera.

Ronald Stevenson (1928 - 2015) was Scotland's Franz Liszt--a fascinatingly fertile and highly contentious figure in the world of contemporary musicvirtuoso composer-pianist, passionate polemicist and cultural crusader. Stevenson's multifarious musical interests, left wing political leanings and enlightened Scottish nationalism led him to be labelled as a neo-Romantic reactionary, or even as a socialist-realist. But in the wake of his recent death, we can see him more clearly as a post-modernist born before his time, penning works of emotional intensity, imagination and vigour in a defiantly distinctive voice--producing some of the most thought-provoking piano music of the 20th century.

Described after a concerto performance as "an outstanding virtuoso - one of the finest players of his generation" (Moscow Kommersant), by the New York Times as a performer "of energy and wit", and by Tom Service in The Guardian as "an all-round virtuoso", Kenneth Hamilton performs worldwide as a recitalist, and broadcasts regularly on the BBC. The originality of his last CD, the best-selling Preludes to Chopin (Prima Facie), generated international impact and lively critical debate. James Manheim wrote: "The commercial success of this release shows how strongly audiences hunger for fresh interpretations of mainstream repertory, and a fresh interpretation is exactly what you get" (AllMusic). While Stefan Pieper commented: "Hamilton's approach to Chopin ignores the pianistic fashions of today's music-market, challenges the dogmas of historical performance-practice, and offers a complete palette of new and intriguing experiences" (Klassik Heute).


"A well-constructed, varied recitalperformed with commendable verve." Guy Rickards, International Piano Magazine

"As with Volume 1, this original, distinctive, well-written and extremely engrossing music is played supremely well by Stevenson's pupil Kenneth Hamilton, who is, moreover, exceptionally well recordedA disc which every music lover attracted to piano music of the last half-century and more will wish to possess. It is most comprehensively recommended from every angle." Five Stars - Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion

Kenneth Hamiltonseems entirely attuned to this repertoire, which comes as no surprise, given his friendship and musical association with the composer Hamilton's booklet notes not only provide first-hand insights on the composer and these works but are as detailed and informative as you'd expect from one of Romantic pianism's most knowledgeable scholars. Jed Distler, Gramophone

"What a delightful and entertaining disk this is!...Very persuasively played by Kenneth Hamilton, who studied with the composer." Henry Fogel, Fanfare

"Grippingly fast-paced, refreshingly spontaneous and intuitively responsive playingArtistic Quality 10/10." Stefan Pieper, Klassik Heute

"[Hamilton's] first release of Stevenson's music gained widespread attention in Germany and North America as well as in Britain. Stevenson's music uses stylistic elements from the past, and his music fell out of favour with the modernist claque. In Hamilton's hands, however, it's clear that there's not a bit of nostalgia or neo-Romanticism in Stevenson's musicStevenson seems to open up a vast new range of possibilities. His student's performances may be taken as definitive for now." James Manheim, Allmusic

Ronald Stevenson...was a Romantic figure with a contemporary twist...there were, and certainly are now, admiring performers who have taken up the challenge his rhapsodic and virtuosic music requires. Kenneth Hamilton is one, having previously released Volume 1 of Stevenson's Piano Music, following that up now with Volume 2, a range of works far less familiar than, say, such giants as the Passacaglia on DSCH. Many of these are quirky, flavoured with a folksy charmthe whimsical High Road to Linton, the Barra Flyting Toccata and Little Jazz Variations among them. Hamilton captures the eccentricity of Stevenson's style in these and other miscellaneous works.- Ken Walton, The Scotsman

"I cannot fault the wonderful performance by Kenneth Hamilton of these works. The recording is always clear and bright. The entire programme is a subtle balance between original music and arrangements which well-reflects Stevenson's achievement." John France, Music Web International

"Now we have the second volume of Kenneth Hamilton's survey, volume one of which was very well received. It is easy to see why; Mr Hamilton is a fine pianist with a strong technique and rich tone that is able to colour Stevenson's music with just the right hue a wonderful introduction to a fascinating composer." Paul RW Jackson, British Music Society

"As was the case for volume one of this survey of unique and compelling music, Kenneth Hamilton, who came to know the composer personally at the end of his life, plays with heart-warming conviction and emotional depth." Peter Burwasser, Fanfare "Kenneth Hamilton has been rightly praised for his pianistic command of Stevenson's many idioms and for his scholarly command of the composer's life and workSolid engineering, too. A winner. Five stars: A fine introduction to Stevenson's art." - Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare


Volume 1 of Kenneth Hamilton plays Ronald Stevenson was CD of the Week for Klassik Heute in Germany, and praised by critics worldwide:

"Hamilton brings exactly the right degree of control to the unstoppable streams of musical ideas, without ever compromising their energy or technical brilliance." Andrew Clements, The Guardian "All the pieces are tackled with real passion. This is an unmissable disc, and one waits impatiently for Volume Two." Colin Clarke, Fanfare "Excellent...a revelatory and enriching listen." Dr Chang Tou Liang, Straits Times, Singapore

"A gorgeous recording and excellent performanceKenneth Hamilton's sumptuous tone is part of the treat." Jack Sullivan, American Record Review

"A splendid introduction to those unfamiliar with this composerStrongly Recommended." Guy Rickards, Musical Opinion

"Kenneth Hamilton is quite magnificentOne marvels at Stevenson's creative genius, particularly in performances as fine as these." Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer

"Hamilton has both the insight and the facility to bring every corner of his teacher's music to life. The recording is a pure joy to hear." Adam Fergler, Without Barlines

"Splendidthe compositional and virtuoso aspects of the disk are frankly stunning." Geoffrey Atkinson, British Music Journal

"I relished this first volume of Kenneth Hamilton's exploration of Ronald Stevenson's musicI do hope that 'Volume 1' is the first of a large edition of Ronald Stevenson's piano music." John France, Music Web International

"Hamilton presents this fascinating music with power, passion and precision." Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

"Splendidthe compositional and virtuoso aspects of the disk are frankly stunning." Geoffrey Atkinson, British Music Journal

"A welcome addition to the catalogue of new recordings of piano works by a 20th-century musical treasure...Hamilton is a sensitive advocate with an obvious love for this music." Matthew Swan, McAlister Matheson Music

"Every volume in this series makes one itch for the next; beyond doubt, this is important work." Colin Clarke, Fanfare


  1. Name
  2. Keening Song For A Makar (in Memoriam Francis George Scott)
  3. Norse Elegy For Ella Nygard
  4. Chorale-Pibroch For Sorley Maclean
  5. Toccata-Reel: The High Road To Linton
  6. Barra Flyting Toccata
  7. Merrick/Stevenson: Hebridean Seascape
  8. Little Jazz Variations On Purcells New Scotch Tune
  9. Threepenny Sonatina (on Kurt Weills Threepenny Opera)
  10. Recitative And Air On DSCH
  11. Bach/Stevenson: Komm, Süßer Tod
  12. Purcell/Stevenson: Hornpipe
  13. Purcell/Stevenson: Three Grounds: Andante Quasi Fado
  14. Purcell/Stevenson: Three Grounds: Andante Arioso
  15. Purcell/Stevenson: Three Grounds: Allegretto
  16. Purcell/Stevenson: Toccata
  17. Purcell/Stevenson: The Queens Dolour (A Farewell)
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