John Lenehan is currently preparing to record the Concerto for two Pianos and Orchestra by Vaughan Williams in January with Leon McCawley and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates. It is a work with a complex history - first heard as a piano concerto and premiered on 1 February 1933 by Harriet Cohen with the BBC Symphony Orchestra directed by Sir Adrian Boult. The Finale was edited shortly thereafter and the work was published in 1936. The concerto was not well received at first, being considered too thickly scored for the soloist. The piece provides ample opportunity for virtuosity in all movements. Vaughan Williams treated the piano as a percussion instrument, as did Béla Bartók and Paul Hindemith during this period. While the concerto was rated highly by some—Bartók, for one, was extremely impressed—Vaughan Williams took the advice of well-meaning friends and colleagues and reworked the piece into a Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, adding more texture to the piano parts with the assistance of Joseph Cooper in 1946. Neither version has really established itself in concert or studio but the two piano version contains some extraordinary music. The new recording will be issued by Dutto Epoch.
Latest release - fascinating music by a Lithuaninan composer of note - Juozas Gruodis. The CD contains the violin Sonata, a specially transcribed suite of songs (both with the violinist Christopher Horner) and the second Piano Sonata. Available from the beginning of December from Discovery Records.
In November The London Soloists Ensemble appeared on Radio 3's "In Tune" to introduce their "Transformations" series at London's St. Johns Smith Square. They performed movements from Beethoven's reworking of his Septet for Clarinet, Cello and Piano and also Hummel's arrangement of the Mozart Piano Concerto K.503 for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano. They were joined for the latter by William Bennett.
Fresh from her performance at the last night of the Proms, Elizabeth Watts appeared with John Lenehan in concert with the Dore Male Voice Choir in Sheffield and brought the house down. An amazing talent!
In September Toccata Classics released a disc of Violin and Piano music by Julius Rontgen performed by Atsuko Sahara and John Lenehan. Music fully deserving of a wider audience, this disc is full of first recordings of a composer much admired by Grieg and Brahms.