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The Complete Solo Piano Works - Alan Rawsthorne


Rawsthorne established himself as a figure of international consequence in 1939, with his Symphonic Studies and his First Piano Concerto; the second World War delayed his emergence as a prolific composer in various genres. The bases of his style were laid at the outset. Rejecting the prevailing folk song foundation of English composition between the wars, yet also refusing to espouse the contemporary systems of the European avant-garde, he created a highly personal style which owed little to others.

The fundamental of this individuality lay in harmonic procedures. His music never loses a sense of tonal centres, although his frequent use of the tritone, his juxtaposition of different tonalities and his practice of delaying resolutions produce a flux often verging on atonality. A predeliction for thirds, major/minor, give the bitter-sweet sensation which many listeners experience and intensifies the somewhat elusive ambiguity of his music. Although time signatures are mostly simple and unvarying, allegro movements generate athletic and exuberant energy, whilst slower movements have a gentle but insistent, even seductive flow. There are few extended melodies; rather, memorable motival shapes, conducive to his stance on tonalities. Likewise, his harmonic methods led him to prefer variational techniques to classical sonata structures. His often quoted aphorism embodies his flexible attitude to musical form...‘Musical forms, unlike those of H.M. Inspector of Taxes, are not for filling in.’ 


Track Listing

Four Bagatelles (1938) for Gordon Green
Oxford University Press 1943
1 I Allegro 1:19
2 II Allegretto 1:41
3 III Presto non assai 1:23
4 IV Lento 1:47
Sonatina (1949) Oxford University Press
5 I Allegro sostenu e misterioso 2:41
6 II Lento ma con movimento 3:02
7 III Allegretto con malinconia 2:34
8 IV Allegro con brio 3:31
Ballade (1967)
13 for John Ogdon Oxford University Press 12.49
Theme and Four Studies (1971) Oxford University Press
14 Theme 0:43
15 I Allegro 2:20
16 II Grave 1:42
17 III Allegretto agitato 2:17
18 IV Poco lento, ma con moto 3:22


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