Howells: Piano Music, Vol. 2

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Naxos 8.571383 | Released 02/12/2022

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Howells: Piano Music, Vol. 2

    • Description
      In the first volume of this series (Naxos 8.571382), Matthew Schellhorn surveyed six decades of Herbert Howells’ compositions for the piano. This second volume reprises the journey, tracing the composer’s stylistic development from the charming poetic miniatures of his youth through to the resonant modal quirkiness of his later dances. The survey includes a centrally important work, the Sonatina of 1971, performed here in Schellhorn’s own edition compiled from the manuscript sources, which includes variants not heard for half a century.
      another feast ... marvellously played by Matthew Schellhorn ... an undoubted treat
    • Tracks
      1 Comme le cerf soupire… (1963) [6:20]
      2 The Arab’s Song (1908) [3:49]
      3 To a Wild Flower (1908) [3:35]
      4 Romance (1908) [4:48]
      5 Melody (1909) [2:33]
      6 Legend (1909) [4:15]
      7 The ‘Chosen’ Tune (1920) [1:44]
      8 A Mersey Tune (1924) [0:42]
      Country Pageant (1928) [5:51]

      9 I. Merry Andrew’s Procession [1:01]
      10 II. Kings and Queens [1:08]
      11 III. There was a most beautiful lady [2:32]
      12 IV. The Mummers’ Dance [1:03]
      A Little Book of Dances (1928) [8:22]
      13 I. Minuet [1:26]
      14 II. Gavotte [1:09]
      15 III. Pavane [2:10]
      16 IV. Galliard [0:48]
      17 V. Rigadoon [1:19]
      18 VI. Jig [1:23]
      19 A Sailor Tune (1930) [1:08]
      Three Tunes (1932) [3:01]
      20 I. Walking Tune [0:44]
      21 II. Country Tune [1:22]
      22 III. Trumpet Tune [0:53]
      23 Minuet for Ursula (1935) [1:48]
      24 Promenade for Girls (1938) [1:07]
      25 Promenade for Boys (1938) [1:20]
      26 Et nunc, et semper (Quasi Menuetto) (1967) [2:52]
      Sonatina (1971) [15:24]
      27 I. Vivo: inquieto [5:14]
      28 II. Quasi adagio: serioso ma teneramente [5:34]
      29 III. Agile, destro, sempre veloce [4:25]
      Total Playing Time: 01:09:26
    • Reviews
      “Schellhorn is fully attuned to this music and is an ideal champion. Recommended.” —International Piano

      “Here’s another feast for admirers of Herbert Howells (1892-1983), a second volume of piano music marvellously played by Matthew Schellhorn, and with all but one item – the deeply touching 1920 miniature The Chosen Tune – receiving their first recordings. The programme spans some 63 years, from a clutch of five agreeably Griegian offerings written before the precocious teen had left his home county of Gloucestershire to study at the Royal College of Music, to the superb late Sonatina composed for Hilary Macnamara (and first heard at her Wigmore Hall debut on January 24, 1972). Always, it would seem, a work in progress, the latter is heard in Schellhorn’s own new edition, which incorporates additional material harvested from at least 10 different manuscript sources. Its searching centrepiece (originally labelled Sarabande) will haunt you for days, while the heart of the last movement now imparts an uneasy stillness that stops me in my tracks every time. … Once again, I’m happy to be able to report that Schellhorn is affectionately appreciative of Howells’s idiomatic keyboard-writing. … In all, an undoubted treat.” —Gramophone

      “[I]t builds upon the very high standard of the earlier disc with the technical and musical aspects of this new release every bit as good as the first. … Another consistent feature across both albums is the ideal clarity technically and musically of Schellhorn’s playing. His control and expressive precision suit Howells’ aesthetic so well. … Schellhorn captures a wistful strength that is disarmingly beautiful. … Schellhorn’s skill and insight ensures ... an impressive conclusion to this wholly compelling and important recital. From first to last this is a disc marked by skill, scholarship and care from all concerned. A genuinely significant addition to the catalogue of British 20th Century keyboard music in general and Howells’ oeuvre in particular.” —MusicWeb International

      “Beautiful performances of this well crafted music in what are, incredibly, almost exclusively world premiere recordings.” —Lark Reviews

      “Little-known keyboard music by Howells divulges some gems in Schellhorn's sharp readings. Schellhorn makes a good case for these mostly miniature works with clear, crisp playing. Essential for Howells fans, this release is enjoyable for anyone, and it was good to see this finely wrought music make classical best-seller charts in late 2022.” —AllMusic

      “Matthew Schellhorn's devotion to the cause…. Sensitive artistry, too, in phrasing, dynamics and subtleties of touch. … The terse and tensile musings of the 15-minute Sonatina for Piano of 1971, left in manuscript in ten different versions, but now merged by Schellhorn into a convincing performing edition that deserves other pianists' attention.” —BBC Music Magazine
    • Awards
      • Top 10 Official Classical Charts (entered at No. 7)
      • Pianodao | Recent Recording Highlights | February 2023
      • ‘Unmissable’ new release, Gramophone
      • ‘Recent Classical Highlight’, Radio France
      • ‘Recent Classical Highlight’, January 2023, AllMusic

    Howells: Piano Music, Vol. 1

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    Naxos 8.571382 | Released 10/07/2020

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    Howells: Piano Music, Vol. 1

      • Description
        With this album, Matthew Schellhorn sheds new light on Herbert Howells as a truly significant 20th-century composer for the piano. From the charming Summer Idyls, written before the composer began studies at the Royal College of Music, to the mature and subtle movements of the Petrus Suite, we encounter an extraordinary range of pianistic expression. Spanning over 60 years of Howells’ compositional style, every track on this release is a world premiere recording.
        this superbly performed survey constitutes a copiously rewarding voyage of discovery
      • Tracks
        1 Phantasy (1917) [4:57]
        2 Harlequin Dreaming (1918) [3:21]
        3 My Lord Harewood's Galliard (1949) [1:08]
        4 Finzi: His Rest (1956) [4:22]
        Summer Idyls (1911) [23:36]

        5 I. Meadow-Rest [4:45]
        6 II. Summer-Song [2:08]
        7 III. June-Haze [4:11]
        8 IV. Down the Hills [2:20]
        9 V. Quiet Woods [2:43]
        10 VI. Near Midnight [4:49]
        11 VII. In the Morning [2:15]
        12 Siciliana (1958) [3:11]
        Pavane and Galliard (1964) [7:23]

        13 I. Pavane [5:02]
        14 II. Galliard [2:15]
        Petrus Suite (1967–73) [17:21]

        15 I. Finnicle’s Scherzo [2:09]
        16 II. Gavotte [2:49]
        17 III. Vagrant Flute [1:58]
        18 IV. Minuet Sine Nomine [4:59]
        19 V. Bassoonic’s Dance [1:55]
        20 VI. Odd’s Minuet [1:48]
        21 VII. Toccatina [1:18]
        Total Playing Time: 01:04:23
      • Reviews
        “immaculately stylish, raptly concentrated and memorably tender advocacy. … Boasting exemplary production values, this superbly performed survey constitutes a copiously rewarding voyage of discovery; in fact, I’m already itching to hear the second volume!” —Gramophone

        “Matthew Schellhorn is an excellent and intelligent pianist. These performances will serve as an excellent reference but also as creative stimulus to other pianists who want to explore this repertoire.” —American Record Guide

        “This revelatory recording is one of the most refreshing discs I have heard for some time. Discoveries abound here. Like Douglas Stevens, Schellhorn is a scholar-pianist, and like Stevens he plays from the heart in total subservience to the music.” —International Piano

        “I hadn’t expected Howells’s piano music to occupy such different sound-worlds to his better-known works, the spare Satie-esque whimsy of Harlequin Dreaming and the Debussy-ish Phantasy and Summer Idyls taking me entirely by surprise. Schellhorn is a marvellous standard-bearer, witty and skittish in the quirkier pieces and giving works like the wonderfully languorous June-Haze plenty of space to glow.” —Presto Classical (Editors’ Choice, July 2020; Top 100 Recordings of the Year 2020)

        “With this album, Schellhorn sheds new light on just how significant Howells was as a composer for the piano … Schellhorn plays with supreme sensitivity, doing full justice to these works.” —Northern Echo

        “Matthew Schellhorn proves a most sympathetic interpreter, reaching the peak of finesse in the sparkling aqueous ripples of the Phantasy, where he admirably sustains the music’s shape and flow. Schellhorn’s welcome album gives us much to ponder over.” —BBC Music Magazine

        “Pianist Matthew Schellhorn deserves credit for respecting the intimate dimensions of this music … a significant essay in rediscovery.” —AllMusic

        “In Matthew Schellhorn, Howells has found an ideal musical champion and interpreter. His playing, from the gentle lyricism of Meadow Rest to the breezy good humour of the Toccatina which closes the Petrus Suite, is a model of clarity, beautifully poised and articulate music making. Throughout this recital there is exhibited a perfect balance of academic rigour allied to musical sensitivity. All that can be said is that the results never sound anything except completely convincing. There is weight and power when the music requires it, but the abiding sense of this recital is of precision and poise. Musically delightful and historically significant, this is an excellent disc in every respect.” —MusicWeb International

        “The deft lightness of touch, apparent technical ease and attention to colourific details in the opening Phantasy sets the scene for a recital that is the embodiment of fine pianism from start to finish. Schellhorn’s effortless virtuosity and artistic affinity with the music leads to playing which perfectly captures the quixotic moods that pervade much of this repertoire, evoking pastel shades and tender lyricism one moment, passionate and joyous eruptions the next, and occasionally (most notably in Finzi: His Rest) the more plangent tones of darkness and despair. … The alchemy between composer and pianist is tangible in these astonishing recordings.” —Pianodao

        Any British music aficionado should be excited by this new release of hitherto unrecorded piano repertoire. A lovingly-prepared recital that allows the listener to re-evaluate Herbert Howells as a serious composer of solo piano music. Precise yet fluid pianism … these are all pianistic styles to which Schellhorn turns his chameleon-like hands with apparent ease. The poise and precision of Schellhorn’s ever-delightful playing … readily adapts to the huge variety of musical styles contained in the music. A release of both historical importance and real musical pedigree, we eagerly await the next volume, if not more future forays into lesser known British piano music.” The Finzi Friends Journal

        “authoritatively rendered by Matthew Schellhorn in what is a notable addition to the composer’s discography … It could hardly have a more persuasive advocate than Schellhorn. —arcana.fm
      • Awards
        • Top 10 Official Classical Charts (entered at No. 4)
        • Top 30 Specialist Classical Albums 6 weeks
        • Presto Editors’ Choice | July 2020
        • Presto Recordings of the Year | Finalist 2020
        • ArkivMusic | Recommended
        • Pianodao | Recording of the Month | December 2020

      Colin Riley: Shenanigans

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      NMC Recordings NMC D241 | Released 20/10/2017

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      Colin Riley: Shenanigans

        • Description
          In this album of Colin Riley’s music, Matthew Schellhorn performs his second commission from the composer, As the Tender Twilight Covers, premiered at York Late Music in 2016.
          sensitive playing from Matthew Schellhorn
        • Tracks
          Three Movements [18:05]
          Tom Lessels (clarinet), Kate Halsall (piano), Genevieve Wilkins (percussion)
          1 I. Purl [5:48]
          2 II. Wane [6:34]
          3 III. Bob [5:43]

          Lyric Pieces [27:00]
          Rebecca Hepplewhite (cello), Céline Saout (harp), Nicola Summerscales (alto flute), Samantha Wickramasinghe (violin), Jessica Beeston (viola)
          4 No. 1, All My Failings Exposed [3:55]
          5 No. 2, Right to the End of Our River [5:42]
          6 No. 3, A King of Green [3:12]
          7 No. 4, Close the Door, Put Out the Light [4:06]
          8 No. 5, Something in Our Minds Will Always Stay [3:05]
          9 No. 6, The Bluegirls Have All Gone Away [7:00]

          Shenanigans [16:40]
          Tom Lessels (clarinet), Kate Halsall (piano)
          10 No. 1, A Cool Cafuffle [2:29]
          11 No. 2, Lazy Legs Lollop [2:45]
          12 No. 3, Before and After [2:06]
          13 No. 4, Cockaloop [3:05]
          14 No. 5, Curly Birds [1:41]
          15 No. 6, Swan Song [4:34]

          16 As the Tender Twilight Covers [9:04]
          Matthew Schellhorn (piano)
        • Reviews
          “Every sound is precisely conceived. The performances sparkle with character” —Financial Times

          “Those responsive to, say, the deft poise of Howard Skempton or the barbed wit of Laurence Crane will find much to engage and absorb them” —Gramophone

          “Wry, understated and slightly bonkers” —The Guardian ★★★★

          “Riley frames moments of real sincerity in his music with moment of frivolousness – a unique indie voice” —BBC Radio Scotland

        Bush & Horovitz: Songs

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        Naxos 8.571378 | Released 14/07/2017

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        Bush & Horovitz: Songs

          • Description
            Matthew Schellhorn partners soprano Susanna Fairbairn in performances of the songs of Geoffrey Bush and Joseph Horovitz, including several world premiere recordings.
            a splendidly stylish and communicative alliance
          • Tracks
            Geoffrey Bush
            1–7 Mirabile Misterium (A Great and Mighty Wonder) [15:13]
            8–10 3 Songs of Ben Jonson [7:43]
            11 Cuisine Provençal [5:29]
            Joseph Horovitz
            12 Foie-Gras [5:09]
            13 Romance [2:26]
            14 The Garden of Love [2:59]
            15 Lady Macbeth [9:03]
            16 Zum 11ten März [4:35]
            17 Malicious Madrigal [2:09]
            Geoffrey Bush
            18 Love for Such a Cherry Lip [1:28]
            19–28 Archy at the Zoo [9:55]
            29–37 Yesterday [13:12]
          • Reviews
            “The stylistic similarities between the two [composers] makes for an appealing unity; and soprano Susanna Fairbairn, ably supported by pianist Matthew Schellhorn, champions both composers with sensitivity and a feeling for the texts.” —American Record Guide

            “Soprano Susanna Fairbairn is in delectably fresh voice throughout, and she forges a splendidly stylish and communicative alliance with her accompanist Matthew Schellhorn. They have been very well recorded, and there are also useful booklet notes.” —Gramophone

            “A prominent performer of new music, Matthew Schellhorn’s clean-cut playing has been well captured in an ideally balanced recording.” —David’s Review Corner

          Patrick Nunn: Morphosis

          Red Sock Records RSR003CD

          Red Sock Records RSR003CD | Released 01/02/2016

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          Patrick Nunn: Morphosis

            • Description
              Performing with the composer himself and others Matthew Schellhorn gives performances of Patrick Nunn’s Isochronous and Transilent Fragments.
              clarity of concept, imaginative textures and integrity
              British Composer Awards
            • Tracks
              1 Morphosis [9:09]
              2 … of bones and muscle [2:04]
              3 Shadowplay [7:34]
              4 Mercurial Sparks, Volatile Shadows [4:47]
              5 Lamellae [1:22]
              6 Sprite [2:40]
              7 Gonk [6:04]
              8 Pareidolia I [10:22]
              9 Isochronous [6:02]
              10 Transilient Fragments [5:45]
              11–18 Eight Cryptograms [11:38]
              19 Into my burning veins a poison [7:06]

            Ian Wilson: Stations

            Diatribe Records DIACD016

            Diatribe Records DIACD016 | Released 06/04/2014

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            Ian Wilson: Stations

              • Description
                Ian Wilsons piano masterpiece, Stations, was written for Matthew Schellhorn and composed over a two-year period. Released on Diatribe Records, Irelands leading label for new music.
                beautifully shaped performance
                MusicWeb International
              • Tracks
                Stations [72:41]
                Book One
                1 First Station [4:38]
                2 Second Station [4:24]
                3 Third Station [7:22]
                Book Two
                4 Fourth Station [4:02]
                5 Fifth Station [6:54]
                6 Sixth Station [5:24]
                7 Seventh Station [3:59]
                Book Three
                8 Eighth Station [3:32]
                9 Ninth Station [4:24]
                10 Tenth Station [5:48]
                11 Eleventh Station [4:36]
                Book Four
                12 Twelfth Station [4:39]
                13 Thirteenth Station [5:29]
                14 Fourteenth Station [7:30]
              • Reviews
                “Matthew Schellhorn's committed approach is aided by his unfailing technique to bring out the best of this extraordinary construction. His beautifully shaped performance is also well served by an excellent recording allowing for a natural piano sound that never sounds aggressive even in the more forceful moments. … Ian Wilson's Stations is a major addition to the piano repertoire of the twenty-first century.” —MusicWeb International

                “Both Wilson's composition and Schellhorn's performance of it are remarkable. The painstaking precision taken over each set of pieces, from the melodiously discordant to the rebate of gentler phrases, is overwhelming. From the beginning the incredible difficulty and technical skill required to play this masterpiece are displayed by Schellhorn, yet with his proficient touch mastering Liszt-like leaps, it becomes clearly evident that he is the pianist to perform Stations.” —Musical Opinion

                “The stations of Ian Wilson’s 72-minute solo piano work are the Stations of the Cross. While the music is not intended to be programmatic, it doesn’t eschew programmatic effects. Wilson has chosen to name his 14 movements simply as Stations 1–14, but the specific scene and emotional charge of each station were clearly in his mind and can be felt as well in parts of the work, although it remains altogether more contemplative than pictorial. The musical style is polyglot (occasional flavours from Feldman and Messiaen stand out without being disruptive), the manner often obsessive, the mood concentrated. Matthew Schellhorn plays with a control that matches the determination and focus of the work as a whole.” —The Irish Times

                “Wilson builds his spare yet rigorous reflections on the Stations of the Cross towards dramatic climaxes. Matthew Schellhorn's crisp, committed performance avoids melodrama and sentimentality.” —BBC Music Magazine

              Mulvey: Akanos

              Navona Records NV5943

              Navona Records NV5943 | Released 04/02/2014

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              Mulvey: Akanos

                • Description
                  Matthew Schellhorn performs Steel-grey splinters, commissioned from Irish composer Gráinne Mulvey, on this release of finely crafted and thought-provoking works.
                  dark, edgy, roiling music
                  Chicago Classical Review
                • Tracks
                  1 Akanos [8:47]
                  2 Shifting Colours [10:15]
                  3 Steel-grey Splinters [9:52]
                  4 The Gift of Freedom [8:35]
                  5 Soundscape III [13:28]
                  6 Syzgy [12:17]
                  7 The Seafarer [12:04]
                • Reviews
                  “Gráinne Mulvey gives the impression of being a composer who’s besotted with sound itself.” —The Irish Times

                  “There are some present-day composers one takes to almost naturally … Thoroughly recommended for those who respond to well-wrought avant classical.” —Classical-Modern Music Review


                Nonclassical NONCLSS013

                Nonclassical NONCLSS013 | Released 31/10/2011

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                  • Description
                    Matthew Schellhorn features on the debut album of Aisha Orazbayeva, featuring works by Ravel, Salvatore Sciarrino, Peter Zinovieff / Aisha Orazbayeva, and Helmut Lachenmann. A deeply personal album, with a raw, heartfelt recording of Ravel’s Violin Sonata – and a refreshing change from straightforward classical CD programming.
                    Profoundly radical and inventive… an album of pure classical dynamite
                    The Sound Projector
                  • Tracks
                    Salvatore Sciarrino
                    1–4 6 Caprices (I; III; V; VI) [24:28]
                    Maurice Ravel
                    5 Sonata for Violin & Piano (I) [8:08]
                    Aisha Orazbayeva & Peter Zinovieff
                    6–10 5 Bagatelles from OUR [14:25]
                    Aisha Orazbayeva
                    11 Pchela i Babachka [2:12]
                    Helmut Lachenmann
                    12. Russian Song [4:14]
                  • Reviews
                    “Fascinating interpretation ... You need to hear it” —The Wire

                    “Profoundly radical and inventive ... music so strange that you can taste it ... an album of pure classical dynamite” —The Sound Projector

                    “lyrically played … with a colourful tone and engaging sense of the structure. … innovative sense of adventure ... This recording is yet another imaginative and compelling disc from Nonclassical” —I Care If You Listen

                    “A hugely adventurous offering” —The Strad

                    “As sharp and merciless as a white-hot needle ... Outside is bracingly, delightfully weird” —Muso

                  Messiaen: Chamber Works

                  Signum Classics SIGCD126

                  Signum Classics SIGCD126 | Released 30/06/2008

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                  Messiaen: Chamber Works

                    • Description
                      Matthew Schellhorn is joined by the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra in this recording of Messiaen's chamber works, including the monumental Quatuor pour la fin du Temps. Featuring the world premiere recording of Morceau de concert à vue for piano solo, this album won an AllMusic Classical Editors’ Favourite award.
                      A heart-stoppingly beautiful performance ... stellar version ★★★★★
                      All Music Guide (USA)
                    • Tracks
                      1 Fantaisie [9:04]
                      James Clark (violin), Matthew Schellhorn (piano)

                      Quatuor pour la fin du Temps [45:47]
                      James Clark (violin), Barnaby Robson (clarinet), David Cohen (cello), Matthew Schellhorn
                      2 I. Liturgie de cristal [2:36]
                      3 II. Vocalise, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps [5:03]
                      4 III. Abîme des oiseaux [8:21]
                      5 IV. Intermède [1:47]
                      6 V. Louange à L’Éternite de Jésus [7:26]
                      7 VI. Danse de fureur, pour les sept trompettes [6:08]
                      8 VII. Fouillis d'arcs-en-ciel, pour l'Ange qui announce la fin du Temps [7:21]
                      9 VIII. Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus [7:05]

                      10 Le Merle noir [6:27]
                      Kenneth Smith (flute), Matthew Schellhorn (piano)

                      11 Pièce pour piano et quatuor à cordes [3:14]
                      James Clark (violin), Philippe Honoré (violin), Rachel Roberts (viola), David Cohen (cello), Matthew Schellhorn

                      12 Morceau de lecture à vue [1:59]
                      Matthew Schellhorn (piano)
                    • Reviews
                      “A sublime performance ... a heart-stoppingly beautiful performance ... The instrumental blend is gorgeous ... the effect is overwhelming … listeners who love Quatuor pour la fin du Temps owe it to themselves to hear this stellar version.” ★★★★★ AllMusic

                      “Matthew Schellhorn and soloists of the Philharmonia orchestra offer a fine, solid ensemble performance. The music for the full quartet is very well done indeed and the performance is technically assured throughout. Signum has provided a clear recorded sound ... luxuriantly expressive ... The effect is powerful and chilling.” —International Record Review

                      “The main find is Signum’s first recording of a miniature sight-reading test piece from 1934 – gentle, lullaby-like, with enough harmonic density to keep students alert. This, together with Le merle noir and the late movement for piano quintet, completes a worthwhile and distinctive release.” —Gramophone

                      “A marvellous performance of the recently rediscovered Fantaisie for violin and piano. The disc also has the first recording of Morceau de lecture à vue, an utterly charming sight-reading piece from 1934. Schellhorn naturally passes the test with flying colours. Fine performances ... by turns poetic and dramatic ... compelling. Schellhorn’s playing is a major asset.” —BBC Music Magazine

                      “What binds this recording together is the excellent playing of pianist Schellhorn, praised in the notes by Loriod herself. His keyboard performances fascinate and enliven the ear and mind.” —Fanfare

                      “Listening to Matthew Schellhorn and the soloists from the Philharmonia made me feel close to the spirit of ‘simple’ faith that must have shone through the spartan conditions in which it was first played.” —MusicWeb International

                      "a stunning performance .. a fantastic recording of a twentieth century masterpiece, with some world-class playing throughout … Matthew Schellhorn’s piano playing is excellent through the disc." —MusicWeb International
                    • Awards
                      • All Music Classical Editors’ Favourite 2008
                      • ArkivMusic Recommendation