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There are already some significant recordings of the music of Halifax-born George Dyson, notably on Chandos and Naxos, but this first complete survey of the piano music offers a sequence of revelations. It includes the world premiere recording of the Concerto leggiero for two pianos, originally for piano and strings. The slow movement is positively dreamy, the finale deliciously playful.

The album’s title, The Open Window, refers to a set of eight pieces for children, each a captivating miniature, often jolly. A similarly happy-go-lucky demeanour, albeit with a touch more knowing, permeates the Six Lyrics.

Perhaps most fascinating is the set of four pithy fugues, Bach’s Birthday, blessed with a hitherto unsuspected acerbic palette. Callaghan relishes them. But the real interpretative triumph lies in the reanimation of Dyson’s educational pieces, which emerge as vibrant music in and of themselves: ‘My Birthday’ is a case in point, its harmonies simple yet poignant. The pithy Epigrams revel in spicier chromaticisms, with No 9 sounding like a take on Chopin’s Revolutionary Study. The valedictory Twilight Preludes are gems. Unmissable.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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