dda 21372 (3CD)
cd image



Ronald Stevenson is one of the most original minds in the world of the composition of music. - So said Yehudi Menuhin. This magnum opus set is a magnificent culmination of several years of planning and a great acheivement by Murray McLachlan. Stevenson's most remarkable work, Le Festin d'Alkan, is given a superb performance as are his incredibly varied transcriptions and fantasies on Bach, Ysaÿe and Chopin (and others) and a number of his other original works.

Stevenson's other tour-de-force, the 80-minute Passacaglia on DSCH, is played by Murray McLachlan on DDA25013

CD DURATION:  CD1: 71.22 CD2: 70.35 CD3: 75.03

Melody on a Ground of Glazunov (extract)  






Disc 1:
Komm, susser Tod (after Bach)
Prelude and Chorale (An Easter Offering)
L'Art nouveau du chant appliqué au piano
    (volumes 1 and 2)
Six Pensées sur des Préludes de Chopin
Variations-Study on a Chopin Waltz
Etudette d'après Korsakov et Chopin
Three Contrapuntal Studies on Chopin Waltzes
Disc 2:
Le Festin d'Alkan
Sonata no. 1 in G minor (after Ysaÿe)
Sonata no. 2 (after Ysaÿe)
Norse Elegy
Canonic Caprice on 'The Bat'
Disc 3:
Fantasy for mechanical organ (on Mozart's K. 608)
Romanze from Piano Concerto in D minor, K.466 (after Mozart)
Melody on a Ground of Glazunov
Ricordanza di San Romerio
Three Grounds (after Purcell)
Toccata (after Purcell)
Little Jazz Variations on Purcell's 'New Scotch Tune'
Hornpipe (after Purcell)
The Queen's Dolour (after Purcell)
Two Music Portraits
Three Elizabethan Pieces after John Bull

review extracts: for full reviews click here

“For me the outright best release of the past year [2013], bar none ... That a composer of this stature should have to wait so long for record­ings of his music (and he's still waiting for the vast bulk of his huge output to get anywhere near the microphones) is shameful; this set will let you hear why.” - Martin Anderson (Fanfare)

“Three well-filled CDs. McLachlan proves an impressive advocate, coping well with all the virtuoso demands ... an important, groundbreaking issue celebrating the work of a composer too long neglected.” – Edward Greenfield (Gramophone)

“One of the very most important and entertaining piano recordings of the year..mind-boggling originality and daring. [played by his] equal as a piano wizard Murray McLachlan... the collection as a whole will give lasting satisfaction.” – Peter Grahame Woolf (Musical Pointers)

“The obscurity which envelopes [Stevenson's] art is a cause for enormous regret. I guarantee that as you work your way through these recordings, you will shake your head in dumbfounded disbelief that music of such remarkable quality should have gone unheard for so long. Murray McLachlan deserves enormous praise for these recordings. Some of these pieces erect some formidable barriers .. but McLachlan negotiates their difficulties with chamois surefootedness. One's predominant emotion is gratitude to the musician, recording company and composer who made [the set] possible. Its importance can hardly be overstated.” – Martin Anderson (Tempo)

“An excellent view of Stevenson's art, showing the vast scope of his piano transcriptions, variations and arrangements. Murray McLachlan fully does justice ... in playing that is impeccably accomplished ... a tremendous advocate for these pieces. The recordings are clear and detailed. This new release should appeal to all lovers of fine piano music and indeed, music lovers in general.” – The Classical Reviewer

“What a collection of treasures... McLachlan proves the ideal guide through this unendingly fascinating array of works. McLachlan's technique is equal to the most challenging of the composer's virtuosic demands, his musical sensibilities attuned to shaping the torrents of notes into real works of art and his lightness of touch able to draw out the subtle tones and colours that are the lifeblood of the music. The recording is very clear, no mean achievement given the music's wide dynamic and textural range. Very strongly recommended.” - Guy Rickards (International Piano)

“{A} handsomely packaged and illustrated, thoughtfully and provocatively programmed three-disc set. [including] beautiful, reverential and entirely effective reimagining of the Romanza from Mozart's D minor Concerto ... dumbfounding realizations of the first two of Ysaÿe's Op. 27 Sonatas... Le Festin d'Alkan is massive and sometimes incandescent. Stevenson also emerges as a notable champion of English Baroque. McLachlan plays most of this programme with a pianism worthy of Stevenson's own – not merely equal to all the music's considerable technical demands but ... with real beauty and poetry of tone. The set, to which I find myself returning repeatedly, is a triumph.” – Calum MacDonald (International Record Review)
“I was telling a friend about the arrival of Ronald Stevenson's piano music CDs on my doorstep. What surprised him most was that for once in my life I was lost for words. I was overwhelmed by the sheer width and depth of the repertoire. Ronald Stevenson is one of the most important living composers. I was extremely impressed by Murray McLachlan's playing on these three superb discs. This complex, usually technically difficult - if not nearly impossible, at times - music demands a huge technique and considerable confidence to play and interpret successfully. The liner-notes by Murray McLachlan are excellent, comprehensive and interesting. [This set] will long remain as a monument to the achievement of Ronald Stevenson.” – John France (MusicWeb)
“ Stevenson has composed almost 500 pieces for solo piano, many of which are fiendishly difficult to play. Even three well-filled discs can hardly scratch the surface of such a vast amount of piano music. It's never, ever dull, and its sheer imagination and energy are irrepressible. So too are McLachlan's performances; the dedication of his playing is without doubt immensely impressive.” - Andrew Clements (The Guardian)

“Murray McLachlan's playing throughout these discs is as masterly as one would expect and he is superbly recorded. The pianists also contributes extensive booklet notes which explore every facet of the music. A superlative collection of some superlative arrangements and realisations by one of the great masters of the keyboard. A big thank you to everyone concerned with this marvellous release.” – Paul Godfrey (MusicWeb)

“This is a very noteworthy release, and I am going to go out on a limb and predict that it will end up on many ‘Best of' lists. McLachlan's performances on these discs are conscientiousness and intelligence personified. McLachlan's Stevenson buffet has enough delights to make it well worth your while.” – Raymond Tuttle (Fanfare)

“ Stevenson's admiration for the pianist-composers of the past is reflected in his own work, which meanders almost seamlessly between original compositions and adaptation of music by others ... but if one follows the music, one soon notices the originality of the music, in the truest sense of the word. Murray McLachlan leaves virtually nothing to wish for in this complex material. His virtuous capabilities are without question as well as, most importantly, his understanding of Stevenson's idiom. The recording technique allows Stevenson's music to breathe and accentuates the interpretations in a best possible way.” - Jürgen Schaarwächter (Klassik.com)

“This program is much better than anything I've heard from [McLachlan]. There's a lot of slow- to mid-tempo music that requires cantabile playing, and he doesn't disappoint me. The arrangements are more than mere transcriptions, of course, and are enjoyable and sometimes stunning... There are some very difficult figurations for the pianist, and he handles them with what sounds like enviable ease.” – Stephen Estep (American Record Guide)

“Of course there's no way a Stevenson sampler wouldn't be a richly textured sprawl. McLachlan explores works ranging from the virtuosic to vignettes a student could master. McLachlan makes the nearly impossible Chopin elaborations sound easy.” – Grant Chu Covell (LaFolia.com)