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Leo Sowerby: Selected Works for Solo & Duo Piano


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This album of world-premiere recordings features solo and duo piano music spanning nearly the entire career of Prix de Rome and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Leo Sowerby (1895–1968), one of the most distinctive American voices of the early and mid-20th century. Recorded in 1997 in Chicago, where Sowerby spent the bulk of his student and professional life, the album is being released at mid-price with support from the Leo Sowerby Foundation. Pianists Gail Quillman and Julia Tsien share a direct musical lineage to Sowerby. Quillman, who established the Leo Sowerby Foundation, studied with Sowerby, and has performed more of his solo piano and chamber music than anyone else. Tsien, an active performer and teacher, was a Quillman student. The album’s earliest work, Three Summer Beach Sketches, for solo piano, from 1915, shows the influence of composer-pianist Percy Grainger, with whom Sowerby studied. It’s also one of the earliest serious compositions to use jazz and blue harmonies. Composed in 1959, Suite for Piano (Four-hands) shares a kinship with the music of Samuel Barber, whom Sowerby championed, and the music of Sowerby’s former student Ned Rorem. Passacaglia, Interlude and Fugue for solo piano (1931) is a dreamy, French Impressionist take on classic forms. Prelude for Two Pianos (1932) is more Delius than Debussy, more English austerity than French sensuality. Sowerby’s brief Fisherman’s Tune is an homage to Grainger. The overture-length sonata movement Synconata, arranged for two pianos, was originally composed in 1924 as a curtain-raiser for American bandleader Paul Whiteman’s “symphonic jazz” concerts.
Facts
Item number CDR 7006
Barcode 735131700627
Release date 11/15/2019
Category Classical Music
Label CEDILLE RECORDS
Media type COMPACT DISC
Number of units 1
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