Percy Sherwood & Hubert Parry Piano Duos
The two works by Sherwood presented on this disc were not published during the composer’s lifetime and are recorded here for the first time, using texts prepared and edited by Hiroaki Takenouchi from manuscripts held by the Bodleian Library. (Sonata for Two Pianos) (Suite for two Pianos).
The Suite presumably dates from 1901 or early 1902, shortly before its first known performance, which was given by the composer and Bertrand Roth on 20 April 1902 as part of Roth’s regular series of salon concerts at his home in Dresden. An inscription on the surviving manuscript names two dedicatees: Lucy Bambring and Edith Hempseed, a pianist active in the UK from around 1900 until the 1930s.
More ambitious than the Suite in terms of its scale and emotional range, the Sonata in C minor for two pianos was first performed by Sherwood and Hermann Scholtz under the auspices of the Dresden Tonkünstler-Verein on 27 April 1896. The work’s gestation is documented in the autograph manuscript held by the Bodleian Library, in which Sherwood noted the dates on which he completed the second, third and fourth movements over the course of a few weeks in April and May 1890.
First performed in 1877, the Duo appeared in print in the same year as part of Breitkopf und Härtel’s high profile ‘Klavier-Bibliothek’ (‘Pianist’s Library’) series – the first edition of Parry’s music to be published abroad. Perhaps recognising the new opportunities that international recognition might bring, Parry also relinquished his insurance job in 1877 in order to focus his efforts on developing a career as a composer, teacher and writer. Despite inhabiting a quite different sound-world to Parry’s later choral works – such as Blest Pair of Sirens, with which he is now indelibly associated – the Duo therefore emerges as a pivotal work in his early career and musical development. Dr Rupert Ridgewell
Percy Sherwood is coming in from the shadows. His Double Concerto Piano Concertos and Cello works have been recorded and now it’s the turn of Lyrita to promote and premiere on disc his two-piano works, the Suite and the Sonata. Both have been edited by Hiroaki Takenouchi (one of the pianists here, along with Simon Callaghan) from manuscripts held by the Bodleian Library and have recently been published, for the first time, by Nimbus Music Publishing.