FOUR EASY PIECES op.608 (September 2009)

Four early piano pieces revised for performance
Published by: Highbridge Music Limited
Duration: 4 mins
Sheet Music Available
Instrumental / piano score for sale

Movements

  • 1: Moderato 1 minutes 00 seconds
  • 2: Valse triste 1 minutes 00 seconds
  • 3: Con moto 1 minutes 00 seconds
  • 4: Andantino 1 minutes 00 seconds

Notes

These four easy piano pieces were written in 1956 and were dedicated 'To Doreen' - a girl-friend of the composer's in Brighton who played the piano and had knitted the composer a bright yellow sweater for his birthday. Thinking he would respond with his own form of handiwork, he composed these pieces for her and bound them into a cardboard folder, but she was less than pleased with this as a present and broke off the relationship, perhaps fortunately, since she returned the manuscript. In 1961 Chappell's offerred to publish the pieces if he would add a fifth piece and  they were published as 'Party Pieces' in 1961 and categorised as 'Grade B' for educational purposes. They were available for some years and at one time used by the Associated Board as test pieces. They eventually went out of circulation and Howard has removed the requested fifth piece, partly because the publisher had named it 'Fun and games' and partly because he had never liked it or indeed the title, 'Party Pieces.' Apart from the lively third movement they are somewhat reflective with a definite tinge of melancholy.

Performances

3rd March 2014 Vladimir Ashkenazy and Vovka Ashkenazy, DECCA RELEASE MARCH 3RD 2014

In 2011 Howard wrote the test-piece for The Hong Kong International Piano Competition which he attended. The President of the jury was Vladimir Ashkenazy who liked the work (Speech after long silence) and expressed his desire to record an album of Howard's piano music. This took place between March and July 2013. The repertoire includes two works for two pianos in which he is joined by his son Vovka and concert performances of these works were given in Lugano for RSI on 9th March 2013 just prior to the recordings. The completed 80-minute album also presents a wide selection of Howard Blake's solo pieces for piano performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy himself.  The completed album will be released by Decca on March 3rd 2014. The title track of the album is a solo piano version of 'Walking in the air' of which a single for download was issued as a pre-release for download on December 2nd 2013.

Related Works


'ANDANTE FOR PIANO TRIO' op.1C (February 1957)
A slow movement for violin, cello and piano in E major

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