Whether the tag of “the English Rachmaninov” helps or hinders the cause of London-born composer and pianist York Bowen (1884-1961; in the mid-1920s he made the first recording of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto) is a moot point. However, as superbly recorded here by the sympathetic and virtuosic Nicolas Namoradze, each of the twenty-four pieces selected makes for very agreeable listening – music of charm and character, not least the (ten) Fragments from Hans Andersen (Opuses 58 & 61), alluring titles and equally attractive invention, closer at times to the Debussy of Children’s Corner than anything Bowen’s Russian comparison penned, if with the exception of VII, ‘The Windmill’, a thriller at full tilt.
At the other end of the disc is Bowen’s Twelve Studies (Opus 46), technical exercises, yes, but rather more than that, once again an enjoyable bouquet of colours and sentiments, written with fluency and imagination. Also included are a Concert Study in G-flat (Opus 9/2) and one in F (Opus 32), grand utterances both, firecrackers in fact, with which to complete a very likeable Bowen compendium, music with its own trajectories and diversions, and not the first time that Hyperion has championed his music. CDA68303.