Friday, November 30, 2012

Howard Ferguson: Piano Sonata

Howard Ferguson
The Irish composer and pianist Howard Ferguson (1908-1999) seems to have been one of the few contemporary composers championed by the great Dame Myra Hess (one thinks of Beecham championing Delius, or Benno Moiseiwitsch his fellow Russian-turned-Englishman Medtner), who, at the outbreak of World War II, enlisted Ferguson's help in running the famous National Gallery concerts in London.  She recorded, during the war years, two of his works: the Five Bagatelles, and this fine Piano Sonata:

Ferguson: Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 8 (1938-40)
Purcell: Saraband, Minuet and Air
Myra Hess, piano
Recorded November 19, 1942, and February 1, 1943
HMV C 7580 through C 7582, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 62.55 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 29.11 MB)

This Sonata was written in memory of the pianist Harold Samuel (1879-1937), famous as a Bach interpreter, who was Ferguson's first teacher, and through whom Ferguson met Hess.

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