The English Piano Sonata

Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918)
Sonata No. 1 for the Pianoforte (c. 1876)
Dedicated to George Grove Esq.
Non troppo allegro
Allegro molto scherzando
Andante – Allegretto – Più allegro

Constant Lambert (1905-1951)
Sonata for Pianoforte (1930)
Dedicated to Thomas W. Earp
Allegro molto marcato

David Owen Norris (1953- )
Piano Sonata (2021)

Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953)
Second Sonata in G for the Piano (1920)
Dedicated to Miss Harriet Cohen
(In one movement)

I have specialised in the music of these composers over my whole career. Lewis Foreman’s standard work on Bax, to the second edition of which I contributed the Foreword, specifically describes the ‘scorching’ performance of the Second Sonata with which I made my South Bank debut.

Reviews of my Lambert performances:
And applause for Constant Lambert’s Piano Sonata, music of muscle and strong personality, powerfully projected by David Owen Norris.
The Times

…best of all is Constant Lambert’s Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments. This little-known piece firmly demonstrates Lambert’s mastery of “symphonic jazz” – a term coined by the composer himself. It’s a furious, red-blooded work, one that benefits from pianist David Owen Norris’s high-octane approach.

And the press reaction when I analysed Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’ for the Prince of Wales on television:
Somebody needs to sign this man up for a series on why we love the music we love, right now.
Sunday Times

The programme presents the Schubertian grace of the young Hubert Parry, the gritty jazz of Constant Lambert, and the high Romanticism and formal command of Arnold Bax, whose Second Sonata was hailed as the greatest since Liszt by both Rachmaninoff and Schnabel.

As to my own Sonata, we must wait and see….
Previous comments on my music include:

‘Your music is powerfully and beautifully your own.’
The late Sir Geoffrey Hill, Oxford Professor of Poetry

‘I can only sketch a skeleton of this astounding piece. It deserves a whole book to itself.’ James Lyon Revue Musicale

‘Brilliant fun – dazzling – the audience was overjoyed’
Oslo Aftenposten

Comments are closed.