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Leon McCawley Plays Schubert

SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce a major new release by Leon McCawley focusing on the piano music of Franz Schubert.

The new recording is the latest offering from a highly acclaimed partnership between SOMM and McCawley that has seen earlier discs devoted to Haydn, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Rachmaninov and Samuel Barber. Leon McCawley has been one Britain’s foremost pianists since winning the International Beethoven Piano Competition in 1993, when he also took second prize in the Leeds International Piano Competition.

Haydn: Piano Sonatas, Volume II

SOMM Recordings is pleased to announce Leon McCawley’s Second Volume of Piano Sonatas by Franz Joseph Haydn.

McCawley’s admired first volume, pairing Haydn’s Sonatas and Variations (SOMMCD 0162), received a coveted Diapason d’Or for playing of “great intelligibility and sensitivity”. Sonata No.60 from Volume I has been selected by Diapason to appear on its next CD, Les indispensables de Diapason, featuring six Haydn sonatas played on different keyboards.

Rachmaninoff: Préludes, Opp. 23 & 32

Rachmaninov: The Complete Preludes

Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C sharp minor
Preludes Op. 23
Preludes Op. 32

Leon McCawley, piano

The Ten Preludes Op. 23, the Op. 3 Prelude and the Thirteen Preludes Op. 32 represent all twenty -four major and minor keys and are considered to be among Rachmaninov’s best works for solo piano. The success of his first Prelude proved to be double-edged. It became so popular that it travelled round the world to the point where in the 1920s in New York he heard the Paul Whiteman Band play a jazz version and as a touring virtuoso he would not be allowed to leave without playing it as an encore.  His Ten preludes Op. 23 were composed in a burst of creativity in the year that the he married his beloved cousin Natalia. In 1910, at the very height of his powers, Rachmaninov completed his set of 24 Preludes with a final group of 13 comprising his Opus 32.

Schumann: Piano Music

Faschingsschwank aus Wien
Kinderszenen Op. 15
Études Symphoniques, Op. 13

Leon McCawley, piano

The wonderful Leon McCawley continues his exploration of 19th-century repertoire for SOMM with the piano music of  Robert Schumann.

Samuel Barber: Piano Music

Leon McCawley, piano

Last November marked SOMM’s first release in our planned series of recordings with the distinguished pianist Leon McCawley. His recital of Chopin Piano Music (SOMMCD 0103) released last November, was warmly received.

The second CD in this series which, apart from one or two very early pieces has the complete Piano Music by Samuel Barber, is a brand new recording for SOMM and is as it happens,  Leon McCawley’s second recording of the composer’s piano music to which, he has, incidentally, added more pieces. His first recording was for Virgin EMI back in 1997.

Chopin Piano Music

SOMM has recently embarked on what we hope will be an extensive series of recordings with the distinguished pianist Leon McCawley. The first in this series is a recital disc of piano music by Chopin, making a timely and fitting tribute to the great composer on his 200th anniversary.

McCawley: 25 Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel – 16 Waltzes – 6 Piano Pieces

Brahms Piano music
Variations & Fugue on a Theme of Handel, op. 24
Waltzes, op. 39
Klavierstücke, op. 118

Leon McCawley, piano

With this new release (release date: 16 July 2012) SOMM is very pleased to add a third recording to its catalogue of recordings with pianist Leon McCawley. Having spent a considerable part of his concert career playing Brahms’s  piano music to audiences —  and the Handel Variations in particular – Leon feels he has really made it his very own. His individual thoughts on the music bear the hallmark of the mature artist who has the means and talent to express them in this recording.

Haydn: Sonatas & Variations

A truly invigorating new release from SOMM this month, brings us Leon McCawley in a recording of four Haydn Piano Sonatas together with the set of Variations in F minor (Sonata – Un piccolo divertimento). Siva Oke first heard Leon play Haydn during a recital for the Chopin Society and was immediately struck by the many wonderful qualities he brought to his playing which captured classical purity and pristine articulation coupled with warmth, plasticity and wit.

“a distinguished issue” (Rachmaninov Preludes – Gramophone May 2015)

“Leon McCawley is a real poet of the keyboard in these performances that are alive to Rachmaninov's wonderful melodic invention.” (The Classical Reviewer, March 2015)

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Concerto, Variations on “I Got Rhythm” & Preludes

Mark Bebbington piano; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Leon Botstein conductor

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Rhapsody in Blue
Concerto in F
Variations on ‘I Got Rhythm’

Plus Bonus CD: 8 Preludes for Solo Piano

Mark Bebbington and Leon Botstein lend fresh ears to George Gershwin favourites (plus a premiere) on Somm Recordings.

Salsa Nueva: Vibrant salsa meets classical piano music

In addition to Mompou and Estevez who come from an earlier era, the composers represented here originate in Venezuela, Britain, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, and Belize and were commissioned by Riu during 2003/04 to write a piece inspired by Salsa. The overall result is an intriguing and exciting fusion of styles and genres.