Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Penelope Thwaites: Gardens, Fables, Prisons, Dreams


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0672
Release Date: 2023-07-21
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871067226
Artists: , , , , ,
Liner Notes

SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce the release of Gardens, Fables, Prisons, Dreams, eight first recordings of music by Penelope Thwaites paying homage to “the heroes, the witty wordsmiths, the dancers, the poets and the visionaries; and two great composers” who have influenced her musical life.

Thwaites is joined by fellow pianist Benjamin Frith for the exuberant six-part A Lambeth Garland, the enchanting eight-part retelling of Oscar Wilde’s fable The Selfish Giant and Thwaites’ arrangement of Delius’s In a Summer Garden, the first to be made for two pianos.

She is heard with John Mills (violin) and Bozidar Vukotic (cello) on Vijay’s Fable, drawn from her culture-fusing score for Indian choreographer Vijaylakshmi Subramaniam, and the atmospheric Mazurka: au Tombeau de Chopin.

The Tippett Quartet contribute three memorable performances: Jan Palach’s Theme, recalling the self-immolating student protestor against the Soviet Union’s 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia; For Irina, a tribute to dissident Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya who survived imprisonment but died of cancer in 2017; and with double bassist Laurence Ungless for To the Hills, a string quintet version of Thwaites’ earlier choral setting of Psalm 121.

Since her 1974 London debut at Wigmore Hall, she has performed in more than 30 countries, and is internationally known as an acclaimed pianist and editor of The New Percy Grainger Companion (Boydell Press, 2010), the standard reference book on performing his music.

Thwaites’ previous SOMM releases include the concert version of her musical co-written with Alan Thornhill, Ride! Ride! (SOMMCD 017), featuring Keith Michell as the 18th-century religious and social reformer John Wesley, lauded by Gramophone as “a compelling aural drama”.

Choral Music and Songs (SOMMCD 0612) with Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore and soloists Carolyn Sampson, James Gilchrist and William Dazeley, was enthusiastically reviewed, Classical Music declaring “the variety is remarkable”, The Classic Review hailing it “intriguing and original”.

On This Recording

  1. Jan Palach’s Theme d
A Lambeth Garland ab
  1. I. The Lambeth Waltz
  2. II. A Gardener’s Song
  3. III. Song of a Scotsman
  4. IV. An English Rose
  5. V. The Wildlife Garden
  6. VI. Reprise: The Lambeth Waltz
  1. Vijay’s Fable aef
  1. Mazurka: Au Tombeau de Chopin aef
  1.  In a Summer Garden (Delius arr. Thwaites) ab
  1. For Irina d
  1. To the Hills cd
The Selfish Giant ab
  1. I. Overture
  2. II. Children’s Dance and Games
  3. III. The Chase
  4. IV. Giant’s Dance
  5. V. Frost, Wind and Snow
  6. VI. Spring and the Little Boy
  7. VII. Celebration Dance
  8. VIII. Evening Dance

a Penelope Thwaites
b Benjamin Frith piano,
c Laurence Ungless double bass
d Tippett Quartet (John Millse, Jeremy Isaac violin, Lydia Lowndes-Northcott viola, Bozidar Vukoticf cello)