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Gorgeous work … sheer beauty

MusicWeb International, John France

It is always an enjoyable time of the year when I have the pleasure and privilege of reviewing the latest instalment of Danacord’s selection of Rarities of Piano Music from the annual festival held at the North-German castle of Schloss vor Husum. The festival is now in its 35th year (2020 was cancelled due to Covid). Much of that lost year’s programme was replanned in 2021 – with all the necessary restrictions. Despite the challenges, the festival went swimmingly, and this disc is a small but important souvenir.

Although the name of Percy Sherwood sounds archetypically English, he was born and bred in Dresden, albeit with a British father. He was a prolific composer. Some of his works have been rediscovered in recent years. Hiroaki Takenouchi played the gentle Barcarole written in 1915. This gorgeous work muses on the song of Venetian gondoliers rather than the horrors of the Western Front.

Based on the sheer beauty of this piece, it is surely time for a reappraisal of Sherwood’s piano music.

I have noted the excellent performances during my review. The recording is ideal in every way. Jesper Buhl’s liner notes are perfect. Altogether, this is a rewarding selection of largely romantic piano music that covers a considerable stylistic diversity. I look forward to the next edition of Rarities this time next year.

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