Ronald Stevenson: Passacaglia on D.S.C.H
Product Code: 2-5013

Ronald Stevenson (born Blackburn 1928) is a neo-romantic, a composer who believes ‘Struggle’ to be the theme of his work as a whole. This present recording presents his most famous...
Price: £12.00   Type: CD  

[1] Sonata allegro 6:46
[2] Waltz in rondo-form 2:27
[3] Episode 1: presto 1:01
[4] Prelude 2:37
[5] Sarabande 1 :08
[6] Jig 0:15
[7] Sarabande 0:18
[8] Minuet 2:34
[9] Jig 0:15
[10] Gavotte 1 :36
[11] Polonaise 1:46 Triple Fugue over ground bass:
[12] Pibroch (Lament for Children) 2:09
[13] Episode 2: arabesque variations 2:35
[14] Nocturne 2:07
[15] Reverie-Fantasy 1 :59
[16] Fanfare 0:16
[17] Forebodings: Alarm 0:15 total playing time: 75:49
[18] Glimpse of a war vision 0:35
[19] Variations on ‘Peace, Bread and the Land’ (1917) 2:06
[20] Symphonic March 1:58
[21) Episode 3: volante scherzoso 0:57
[22] Fandango 2:05
[23] Pedal Point: ‘To emergent Africa’ 1:45
[24] Central Episode: etudes 5:07
[26] Variations in C minor 2:42
[27] Adagio: tribute to Bach 1 : 15
[28] Subject 1 : andamento 5:04
[29] Subject 2: BACH 6:08
[30] Subject 3: Dies Irae 5:15
[31] Final Variations on theme derived from ground (adagissimo barocco) 10:00

Total Playing Time: 75:49

Ronald Stevenson (born Blackburn 1928) is a neo-romantic, a composer who believes ‘Struggle’ to be the theme of his work as a whole. This present recording presents his most famous work, an immense single movement pianistic journey approaching 80 minutes in duration which Stevenson has likened in recent years to a ‘lifecycle’ : Think of one minute of music in the Passacaglia as one year in human development, with the physical climax in the work coming after approximately 35 minutes of music, and the spiritual climax coming at the work’s tail- end. A striking parallel, and the fact that it was conceived decades after the work’s initial completion on 18 May 1962 (Stevenson began working on it on Christmas Eve 1960) is especially Stevensonian.

Stevenson’s Art thrives on freedom, on-going creativity, the artistic necessity of never closing doors. Thus he has continually re-thought his Passacaglia, and indeed encouraged others to do so. It was Schnabel who said that a masterpiece is always greater than any one performance, and this is certainly true with regard to the Passacaglia, a work strongly admired by William Walton and described by Wilfred Mellers as ‘surely one of the greatest works for solo piano, and not merely in our time’.

Since 1951 Ronald Stevenson has lived in Scotland, the land of his parental fore-fathers, and pursued an extraordinary artistic mission with almost superhuman energy. Though one cannot summarise all of his achievements it is important to note that his compositions include over five hundred piano pieces, three hundred songs, two piano concertos, a violin concerto, a cello concerto and a monumental choral-orchestral composition entitled ‘Ben Dorain’ . As an author he has written a History of Western Music (Khan and Avrill 1971) and his numerous articles for ‘The Listener’ generated lively interest and discussion. Major works awaiting publication include a historical novel of well over 1,000 pages in the structure of a pyramid on Ferruccio Busoni, as well as a biography and smaller book on the same composer. There is also an early but brilliantly perceptive Treatise on Piano Technique and essays on Alan Bush, Hugh MacDiarmid, Percy Grainger, Paderewski, Sorabji and many others. He has produced editions of composers as diverse as Purcell and Grainger, and made both television documentaries and Radio Broadcasts over the years, winning a Harriet Cohen Award for his broadcasts on Busoni for Radio Three.
Stevenson is also a remarkable virtuoso pianist who has performed on all five continents. His repertoire is extraordinary, including many rarities and extending from the Elizabethan Virginalists to the present day. Highlights of his career have included performances at the BBC Proms, the Aldeburgh Festival, and appearances with the Royal Philharmonic, Scottish National, BBC Scottish and BBC Symphony Orchestras. His recordings on the Altarus Label are admired by connoisseurs of pianism internationally and indicate the individuality and beauty of his pianism (In a letter to Stevenson dated 22/11/71 Benjamin Britten wrote ‘ . . . what a wonderful pianist you are! . . wonderfully clear and musical playing and beautiful sounds. . . ‘). Stevenson has also delivered many memorable lectures over the years, and is an inspirational teacher. Outside music his interests are wide-ranging, embracing everything from the history of British Boxing to James Joyce! He is a particular authority on 20th Century Scottish poetry and literature.

Total 3 result(s).
Listen to Track Pars Prima - Sonata Allegro
Listen to Track Pars Altera - Reverie - Fantasy
Listen to Track Pars Tertia - Adagio