Ronald Stevenson

It is the best piano-recording – the best pianism – we’ve heard for a long time. His pianism is the continuation of the unique Mancunian line of master-pianists: Egon Petri, Frank Merrick, Iso Elinson and John Ogdon. The programme of his CD is original, exploratory; both unified and contrasted in concept and in sonority. It contains some of the most beautiful CANTABILE I’ve heard and a range of sound that is rare and quasi-orchestral. And his pedalling is the most inventive I’ve heard for ages.

Yes, the programme-building is deeply considered, contrasted AND unified; and full of interest. His performance of Busoni’s CARMEN FANTASY is a true realisation and continuance of Busoni’s concept. I invoked Petri, but here I add a different comment. Signora Gerda Busoni told me, amusingly but factually, that Busoni specified CON AMORE for the “flower song” because he knew that Petri could not play CON AMORE – perhaps his Dutch background militated against it? -but Busoni encouraged him to try.

The inclusion of FOUR premiere recordings shows hospitality of mind and surely makes it a collector’s CD; AND also a popular one in its content. To achieve both the rare and the popular appeals to me and should attract an audience both informed about tradition and open to the new. This commentary is becoming a panegyric, an encomium! But though elaborate, every word expresses my actual reactions. – Or possibly doesn’t express ALL I feel.

—Ronald Stevenson