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This recording of works by William Mathias and John Pickard was orginally issued on the Athene label and sold out, showing that modern British music is appreciated, and rightly so. These are major works of importance. The critics' remarks quoted below include those made at the time of original issue.


Pickard Piano Sonata - extract







William Mathias:
Piano Sonata no. 1, op.23
Piano Sonata no. 2, op.46
John Pickard:
A Starlit Dome
Piano Sonata

review extracts: for full reviews click here
“stunning performance from Raymond Clarke... intense quality from a pianist who has that rare communicative gift to transcend the medium. Pickard’s Sonata is… a really important composition… profoundly impressive and deeply musical… Mathias’s Sonatas both exceptionally well written. The recording is excellent” – Robert Matthew-Walker (Musical Opinion) (2005)
“The furious toccata-like conclusion [of John Pickard’s Sonata] is quite an experience, especially played as well as here … Raymond Clarke, for whom the Sonata was composed, plays both these taxing and profoundly thought pieces with dedication and virtuosic flair … First-rate recording: an excellent disc of contemporary British piano music.” - BBC Music Magazine (1998)
“Both composers’ music is brilliantly played by Raymond Clarke, a pianist who combines an emotional commitment to the music with a prodigious technique.  The whole disc is enthralling.  It is music-making of the first order of magnificent new music that I would recommend all other serious music-lovers to investigate.  Intelligent and passionate music performed with great insight.” - Classic CD (1998)
“Mathias’s Tippettian sonatas, the thorny No.2 in particular, make rewarding listening.  John Pickard’s A Starlit Dome is an ‘astronomical nocturne’ of real imaginative resource; his sonata, whether in the smouldering intensity of Part 1’s closing variations, or Part 2’s sustained emotional energy, is the equal of any large-scale piano work this last quarter-century.  Clarke’s playing combines passion and control to potent effect.” - Gramophone (1998)
“Raymond Clarke’s superb performances are given a very fine recording perfectly suited to this highly idiomatic piano writing…The piece [John Pickard’s Sonata] is a revelation.  The recording is spell-binding; the performances are staggering.  Clarke is in complete control – absolutely astonishing.  It completed a wonderful hour of music…  Unreservedly recommended.” - MusicWeb (1998)
“This is music of severe technical demands that should be labelled ‘Warning.  Professional stunt pianist used.  Do not try playing these works in your home.’  That pianist is Raymond Clarke, dedicatee of Pickard’s Sonata… This CD is almost unthinkable without his expertise and persistence; the rhythms have to be acutely etched to keep the high-strung tensions tight and rewarding.  Clarke is the man here.” - Fanfare (1998)
“Raymond Clarke plays this very demanding program with spirit and dexterity... Mathias's music makes a strong and satisfying impression and is well worth seeking out.” – American Record Guide (2008)