Richard Deering piano
HERITAGE HTGCD 142
No, not the poet, but the great-great-grandson of brother Christopher. He is claimed by both Scotland and England but he did not come permanently to Scotland till he was 53 when he settled in Kincraig near the Cairngorms. Earlier he had studied privately in Edinburgh with Sir Donald Tovey.
This CD presents four of his piano works played with sparkling brilliance by Richard Deering. Possibly the best of these works is his Piano Sonata in d minor Op. 13, composed in 1939 but not published until 1984. Wordsworth was a committed pacifist. It has been suggested that ideas of war and peace are bound up in the extensive first movement of this work. It is some 15 minutes in length.
It opens powerfully, darkly portentous. However, the dark skies clear with almost sunny pastoral music. Those two ideas clash as indeed they should in sonata form. There are moments with almost spiritual harmonies, great variety in tempi along with passages of ferocious pianism dashingly performed by Richard Deering. That dark opening motif returns softened and transformed before what sounds like a plainsong melody in the left hand brings the movement to a close.
The second movement is pensive and thoughtful and much shorter. It leads without a pause into the finale which is surprisingly jaunty but with the merest sense of anxiety within.
Ballade Op. 41 also opens powerful and threatening. It presents more complex and fierce pianism.
Cheesecombe Suite Op. 27 (1945) offers lighter more transparent music. It has four short movements. The Scherzo and Fughetta are particularly appealing. Valediction Op. 82 was originally going to be called Lament. It was composed in memory of a friend who died in a road accident. Quite dark, it lives up to that idea of a lament.
Incunabula, the title of the piece by Thomas Wilson means ‘a place of birth or beginning’. The music was preparatory to the composer’s later works. It is in six highly contrasting sections which seem to come in surges titled from Adagio molto to agitato or calmo. This is definitely not easy listening.
Edward McGuire offers his slightly longer Prelude 11 followed by Six Small Pieces in C Major. They explore in fairly simple terms all sorts of the musical textures a piano has to offer.
Review by Alan Cooper