Seventy minutes well-spent in the company of Emma Abbate & Julian Perkins – one piano/four hands/twenty fingers – the album’s title owing to Stephen Dodgson (1924-2013), eight delightful vignettes, beautifully crafted, which fall on grateful ears. Dodgson is also represented by his single-movement Sonata, capricious, enjoyable; so too Trois Pièces négres pour les touches blanches by Constant Lambert (1905-51), a hint of jazz in ‘Aubade’, a warmly expressive ‘Siesta’, and a ‘Nocturne’ with quite a lot of daylight and syncopation; Arthur Benjamin’s Jamaican Rumba came to mind.
The Sonatina by Richard Arnell (1917-2009) is more abstract, Hindemith in the mix, and no-less diverting – this and the two Dodgson pieces are first recordings – and the rest of this pleasing release (good sound from St George’s Bristol; John Taylor, producer & engineer; Stephen Johnson, annotator) is devoted to Sir Lennox Berkeley: Theme and Variations (rather dry); Sonatina in E-flat (engaging); and the delicious, rather Ravelian, Palm Court Waltz.
Throughout, Emma Abbate & Julian Perkins play as-one, with dedication and shared pleasure. BIS-2578 [SACD].