dda 25013

a Penguin Guide "Key Recording"

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This is a very important release for lovers of 20th century music, featuring one of the most fascinating and important piano works of the 20th century. Passacaglia is, first, one of the longest continuous solo keyboard pieces ever written. It has collected almost a cult following.  It is also a piece of wide variety, collecting in influences from the music of many places, but based strongly and closely throughout on the initials DSCH (for Dmitri Schostakovich). We were pleased to dedicate this disc to the composer in celebration of his 75th birthday.

Pianist Murray McLachlan is one of Britain's leading exponents of modern music.  He has recorded 2 previous CDs for Divine Art and also for Dunelm and Olympia.
See his 3-CD set of Stevenson's music (given the IRR 'outstanding' award') on dda 21372.


AUDIO SAMPLE: episode 1 (vivo)






  review extracts: for full reviews click here
“[Stevenson displays]… a revelatory understanding of the keyboard… both an astonishing compositional achievement and a deeply impressive emotional experience.   The CD is a considerable achievement in musical and sound-recording terms: a wonderful 75th birthday present for the composer. Strongly recommended.- Robert Matthew-Walker (Musical Opinion)
“The performance is thrilling. His approach to the work somehow manages to combine an improvisatory freshness and a sense of the inevitability of the form. McLachlan … plays it here as if mastering its praeternatural difficulties were as natural as running your fingers through your hair. Strongly recommended ” – Martin Anderson (International Piano)
“Murray McLachlan projects the work's opening Sonata with a dark energy; … the start of a journey with real sweep and grandeur. McLachlan is stunning in the Fugue… he visits worlds of fantasy and virtuosity his two competitors do not often approach. In McLachlan's hands, we're always made to appreciate the Passacaglia as a meaningful, pertinent piece of contemporary music. Pianistically the final fugue section is absolutely stupendous. His performance is filled with excitement, feeling and belief, and superbly executed.” - Paul Ingram (DSCH Journal)
“Murray McLachlan's… terrific at sustaining cumulative momentum and keeping textures fresh and diversified during the work's lengthy opening and closing sections. … there's much to admire in McLachlan's colouristic instincts and seasoned musicality” - Jed Distler (BBC Music Magazine)
“I am a very lucky composer to have this splendid recording of a truly superlative performance. Congratulations to all concerned…  Must add that Murray writes the best, most informed , intelligent and sensitive programme notes.” - Ronald Stevenson
"Here is a committed performance… It could be argued that no pianist has grown up with this work in closer proximity than McLachlan… an exciting pianist. The work is… a living organism… an experience." - Colin Scott-Sutherland (MusicWeb)
"Murray McLachlan...  turns in a noble, committed, sometimes harrowing performance" - American Record Guide
“something of a tour de force… Murray McLachlan is an impressive exponent of this score and he is very well recorded” -   * * *  ("outstanding - key recording")- Penguin Guide to Compact Discs
“Stevenson's masterpiece... without question a major addition to the quite superb pianism, allied to a structural command that knows no peers. The Passacaglia is an out-and-out masterpiece, which will be played long after much music of the last 50 years is justifiably forgotten” - Robert Matthew-Walker (Fuga)- review of live performance August 2008
“I must heartily congratulate all concerned with the production of this CD. It is a tour de force, utterly compelling and ultimately edifying; no single piece of music comes close to matching its achievement in uplifting the spirit and salving the soul, troubled or not!” - a private customer