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For many years the only piano music by Ronald Stevenson available on disc was the Passacaglia on DSCH. Here, following on from Murray McLachlan’s three-volume Divine Arts survey, DDA21372 (2013) and Christopher Guild’s ongoing survey for Toccata Classics, is the second volume of Kenneth Hamilton’s, which may be the best yet.

This is a well-constructed, varied recital mixing original compositions – such as Song for a Makar (1958) and Chorale-Pibroch for Sorley Maclean (1967) – with transcriptions of Bach, Purcell and Frank Merrick. The latter’s Hebridean Seascape – originally the slow movement of his Piano Concerto No 2 (c1935) – was arranged by Stevenson in 1986, becoming a magisterial tone poem for piano. The Recitative and Aria on DSCH (1975) is not an extract from the Passacaglia but a tribute intended for Shostakovich’s 70th birthday in 1976, which became – unintentionally – a memorial.

Prima Facie’s sound and piano tone are marginally finer than Divine Arts, and at least the equal to Toccata’s. Prima Facie’s one premiere is the Threepenny Sonatina (1987), a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek treatment of Weill, completed by Douglas Finch in 2011. Hamilton may have missed out on being first over the line with The High Road to Linton and the delightful Barra Flyting Toccata, but they are performed, like all the works here, with commendable verve.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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