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NEWS

LOCKDOWN  BLUES - new CD with Peter Dickinson

ON SOMM 0644 NOVEMBER 2021

This collection has been designed to be gentle relaxation as we all come out of lockdown. It contains familiar masterpieces by Satie, Poulenc, MacDowell, Gershwin and Lambert. Twelve famous tunes by Ellington in the versions he published as sheet music. Most of them were used by his band and recorded by celebrity jazz singers. There’s a curiosity by Cage – his best tune – and another by Goossens as well as some of Dickinson’s own blues.

'Peter Dickinson’s superb piano playing, and artistry, has produced an album of (mostly) soothing pieces, with more than a hint of jazz and blues. In some respects, this CD is a retrospective of his career. For example, he knew  John Cage (and several  other legendary American composers) when he was living and studying in New York. Along with his sister the mezzo soprano Meriel Dickinson, he introduced music lovers to the enigmatic work of Erik Satie - the duo made recordings and gave live “entertainments” during the 1970s, when Satie was still a closed score. As a composer, Dickinson’s eclectic works often include jazz, pop, ragtime and blues.' John France, Musicweb International 28 November 2021.

 

Five Forgeries for piano duet with Mark Bebbington and Irene Loh. 1 October, 2021, St John's, Smith Square

Three Pieces for Organ with Tom Winpenny. 21 November 2021, Westminster Cathedral

Five of the Auden songs with James Gilchrist and Nathan Williamson, forthcoming on Somm

Late Afternoon in November. BBC Northern Singers/Stephen Wilkinson on Prima Facie PFCD147, 2021

THREE PIECES FOR STRING QUARTET PREMIERED BY THE KREUTZER QUARTET ONLINE. ALSO IN THE WILLIAM ALWYN FESTIVAL WITH THE GILDAS QUARTET IN OCTOBER 2021

A SATIE ENTERTAINMENT REBORN ON CD, FROM ORIGINAL LP AND LIVE CONCERTS ON HERITAGE HTGCD 171, 2020

Meriel and Peter Dickinson presented their Erik Satie Entertainment many times in this country and abroad from the late 1960s onwards. At that time Satie was not as well-known as he is today – the Dickinsons were pioneers. Press comments show how well these Entertainments were received: London performances were sold out.

‘The joint recitals of Meriel & Peter Dickinson have been winning a growing reputation not merely for the excellence of performance, but also for the obvious care that goes into the planning of their unusual and consistently interesting programmes. Their evening of music by Satie has become justly famous – it plays to capacity audiences.’ Music & Musicians

NEW CD RELEASE

JAMES JOYCE’S FAVOURITE COMPOSER FOR HIS POETRY

A MAJOR DISCOVERY IN THE HISTORY OF SOLO SONG IN ENGLISH -

FORGOTTEN ANGLO-IRISH COMPOSER GEOFFREY MOLYNEUX PALMER -

RECORDING OF JOYCE SETTINGS WITH LEADING BRITISH TENOR ON THE

RECORD LABEL HERITAGE HTGCD 175 (2020)

Chamber Music by G. Molyneux Palmer

Martyn Hill (tenor) Peter Dickinson (piano)

The Joyce Book, settings by Moeran, Bax, Roussel, Herbert Hughes, Ireland, Sessions, Bliss, Howells, Antheil, Edgardo Carducci, Goossens, C. W. Orr, Van Dieren

Meriel Dickinson (mezzo) Peter Dickinson (piano)

Geoffrey Molyneux Palmer (1882-1957) was born in England, a pupil of Stanford at the Royal College of Music. Palmer spent the last thirty years of his life in Dublin, latterly as an invalid, where his music, including operas and choral pieces, gained some performances. What remains unexplored is his cycle of thirty-two poems taken from Joyce’s Chamber Music (1907). Letters between Joyce and Palmer show how enthusiastic Joyce was about these songs.

These songs have had so little exposure that the poet’s favourite musical settings of the verse of one of the greatest twentieth-century writers are virtually unknown. The cycle is a kind of Irish Winterreise that adds significantly to the history of Georgian song. The first complete performance, working from manuscript, was given by Martyn Hill and Peter Dickinson for BBC Radio 3 on 17 March 1988. That recording survives for issue on this CD and the score is now published by Good Music.

Further Joyce settings from The Joyce Book (thirteen composers, published in a deluxe edition in 1933) have also been made available by the BBC with Meriel and Peter Dickinson, broadcast on 11 February & 2 November 1982. Almost everything on the CD is a first commercial recording.

Martyn Hill needs no introduction as one of the leading British tenors of his generation who was prominent internationally for several decades. Meriel and Peter Dickinson had a partnership in recitals, broadcasts & recordings through the 1970s to the early 1990s.

THE CD - https://www.heritage-records.com/shop/vocal/heritage-vocal/joyces-favourite-songs/

THE SCORE - Goodmusic www.goodmusicpublishing.co.uk

peterdickinson@foxborough.co.uk

 

                            CD OF CHAMBER MUSIC ON TOCCATA TOC 0538

PETER SHEPPARD SKAERVED, RODERICK CHADWICK AND THE KREUTZER QUARTET (2020)

+Violin & Piano Sonata (1961)

Two solos - +Air (1959), Metamorphosis (1955/71)

+St Quartet 1 (1959)

+Fantasy for violin (1959)

Lullaby for V&P (1967)

St Quartet 2 (1976)

Quintet melody (1956)

Tranquillo V&P (from Violin Concerto, (1986/2018)

+ These pieces were all written in the US.

'A superb example of Dickinson's compositional and expressive ingenuity, the Second Quartet stands out as a work of range and subtlety in a programme exemplifying those very qualities. Magnificent playing and sound. A marvellous disc. Guy Rickards, Gramophone.'

RECITALS

Four W. H. Auden Songs, 'Let the florid music praise; Schubert in Blue: Mimi Doulton Dominic Degavino, St James', Piccadilly, 11 December 2019

Elegiac Canons for two recorders: John Turner with Laura Robinson, William Alwyn Festival, The Red House, 9 October, 2019

Three Songs from The Unicorns: Natalie Johnson-Hyde with Lana Bode, King's Place, 20 October, 2019

PARAPHRASE II WITH NATHAN WILLIAMSON ON SOMM (2019)

Feature article on Dickinson by Arnold Whittall in Gramophone (October 2018)

ALL-DICKINSON CONCERT AT MICHGAN STATE UNVERSITY, EAST LANSING

10 APRIL 2018

London Rags (brass); American Trio (violin, clarinet & piano); Lochinvar (speaker, vioin & piano - premiere) and songs

TRANSLATIONS: EARLY CHAMBER MUSIC - ON PRIMA FACIE PFNS009 (2018)

Sonatina for Recorder and Piano (1956), Lullaby for Clarinet and Piano (1967/82), Translations for Recorder, Gamba and Harpsichord (1971), Threnody for Cello and Piano (1956), Four Duos for Flute and Cello (1962), Fantasy for Clarinet and Piano (1956), Sonatina for Solo Bassoon (1966), Waltz for Elliott Schwartz (2016) for Piano, Freda’s Blues (2016) for Piano, Lullaby from ‘The Unicorns’ for Piano (1967/2016)

NATHAN WILLIAMSON plays Paraphrase II (piano), 21 March, 2018

in London and in Little Slyfield, Surrey, followed by recording on Somm

EIGHT AUDEN SONGS 

THE LOOKOUT, ALDEBURGH,11 NOVEMBER 2017

HORISHI AMAKO (TENOR) YI-SHING CHENG (PIANO) 

PETER DICKINSON - BOOK OF WRITINGS  AND NEW ORCHESTRAL CD

9 MARCH 2016, ENITHARMON PRESS, LONDON: JOINT LAUNCH WITH  BOOK AND ORCHESTRAL CD [HERITAGE 211] WITH SEVEN ORCHESTRAL WORKS - BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES/CLARK RUNDELL

Purchase from: 
Presto Classical HERE

PUBLICATION OF PETER DICKINSON: WORDS AND MUSIC [BOYDELL]

'As composer, performer and writer, Peter Dickinson has made a significant contribution to British musical life...With fine illustrations and selected music examples, this is a richly satisfying book' Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music, August 2016

Purchase from Boydell & Brewer HERE

BBC RADIO 3 BROADCASTS IN 2016/17 - VIOLIN CONCERTO ON 22 FEBRUARY

SATIE TRANSFORMATIONS - 25 FEBRUARY

BACH IN BLUE - 26 FEBRUARY

SUITE FOR THE CENTENARY OF LORD BERNERS - 3 OCTOBER

INTERVIEW ON MUSIC MATTERS with Tom Service - 29 OCTOBER

[see interviews on this site]

FIVE DIVERSIONS - 28 SEPTEMBER 2017

MONOLOGUE FOR STRINGS - 16 OCTOBER 2017

Suite for the Centenary of Lord Berners, Snape Maltings Proms, BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth, 22 August 2016, later BBC R3

Mass of the Apocalypse in Aldeburgh Festival Sunday 14 June 2015

 

80th BIRTHDAY EVENTS 

London Concert

10 November 2014, presented by the Park Lane Group in the series of concerts held at the residence of Bob Boas, 22 Mansfield Street, London W1. The programme also included works by composers associated with Dickinson as writer, broadcaster or performer - Berners, Lennox Berkeley, Copland, Satie and Ellington.                        

Dickinson - Four W.H. Auden Songs (1956)                                                                                   Joanna Skillett, soprano; Melanie Jones, piano 
Dickinson - Vitalitas Variations (1957)                                                                                 
Joseph Houston, piano                                                                                                   
Dickinson - Five Forgeries for piano duet (1963)                                                                      
David Eaton and James Young                                                                                                         Dickinson - A Celebration Trio for violin, clarinet & piano (arr.2009)                                                   Dickinson - Bach in Blue (2004/11)                                                                 

Malcolm Miller wrote in Music and Vision, 15 November 2014                 

'An eightieth birthday concert to celebrate the achievements of Peter Dickinson was an aptly spirirted affair, which highlighted his distinctive and multi-faceted qualities as a British composer, solo and chamber pianist, author, broadcaster and editor, a 'Renaissance' musician who is very much a pioneer in post-modernism...The Celebration Trio formed a bright conclusion to this varied evening, affirming the creative versatility and individuality of a polymath in the world of music whose intertwining strands of musical thought feed each other to produce a fertile and fruitful oeuvre.'  [actually the concert ended with Dickinson playing three songs of Ellington in his own arrangements]

Concert in Manchester

26 October 2014 at the Royal Northern College of Music                                                               The Rawsthorne Trust had commissioned Dickinson to make a reduction for speaker and piano of Rawsthorne's Practical Cats  [now on CD] - and later a piano duet version. The programme also included Dickinson's Fantasy for clarinet & piano, 1956 (Linda Merrick and Harvey Davies); Sonatina for solo bassoon, 1966/2011 (premiere: Rosie Burton) and Bach in Blue (version with recorder: John Turner - now withdrawn)

William Alwyn Festival

9 October 2014 at St Edmund's Church, Southwold                                                                       Paraphrase II: (Nathan Williamson: piano)

RECENT ARTICLES ABOUT PETER DICKINSON 

'Peter Dickinson: Words on Music', BBC interview with Tom Service, Musical Opinion, January-March 2022, 12-15

'Rags, Blues and Transformations' by Richard Leigh Harris, Musical Opinion, October-December 2014,10-13

'Peter Dickinson on Heritage Records' by Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, November 2014, 17-18

Interview with James Jolly in The Gramophone [now in Peter Dickinson: Words and Music, Boydell 2016]

'Peter Dickinson at 80' by Stephen Banfield, Tempo, April, 53-59 [now in Words and Music, Boydell 2016]

'Peter the Great', by Phillip Sommerich, Classical Music, March 2016

'Dickinson delights', by Andrew Thomson, Musical Times, Autumn 2016, 118-20 

'Words and Music', by Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone, March 2018, 98-99

Contemporary Composers: Peter Dickinson, by Arnold Whitall, Gramophone, October 2018, 74-75

Malcolm Miller: Peter Dickinson: Words & Music, Musical Opinion, April-June 2019, 47-49

Peter Dickinson: Words & Music, by Nigel Simeone, Psychology of Music (forthcoming)                                                                                                        

THE JUDAS TREE - by THOMAS BLACKBURN AND PETER DICKINSON 

CD RELEASE OF ACCLAIMED HISTORIC AMERICAN PRODUCTION OF MUSICAL DRAMA

The Judas Tree: A Musical Drama of Judas Iscariot is a unique collaboration between Thomas Blackburn (1916-77) and composer Peter Dickinson. Blackburn explores the role of Judas in the events leading up to Christ’s passion and death. The problem of evil in society, eternally present, is given a new slant in Blackburn’s often provocative treatment in both poetry and prose.

The Judas Tree, lasting an hour and twenty minutes, is a kind of music theatre with five actors, two tenors, SATB chorus, string and brass quintets, percussion, piano and organ (published by Novello). It was originally written for students of the College of St Mark and St John, in London, where Blackburn and Dickinson both taught and, after performances there, The Judas Tree ran for a week in the Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival and at Liverpool Cathedral followed by a new production from the English Opera Group at Southwark Cathedral.

Its reception in the 1960s was remarkable and nowhere more so than at Washington National Cathedral, playing to some 3000 people on three nights in Holy Week 1967. In the words of The Washington Post: ‘No one can come away from a performance of this work unmoved by its drama, untouched by its poetry, untroubled by its meaning.’  Fortunately that historic performance was recorded and is now available on CD (Heritage HTCD 263).

Recent Peter Dickinson Recordings — Three Concertos on Heritage HTGCD 276

Peter Dickinson’s three concertos form the core of his large-scale works. The Organ Concerto came first and was written for Simon Preston: the Piano Concerto for Howard Shelley. The Violin Concerto was a BBC commission (1986) and is dedicated to the memory of the great British violinist Ralph Holmes who died prematurely. The concerto was recorded for the first time by Chloe Hanslip and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Clark Rundell on April 2/3 at Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff. There was a BBC Radio 3 broadcast on 23 September 2014 and CD was released on Heritage HTGCD 276 in November to coincide with the composer’s 80th, along with the previously recorded Piano Concerto [Howard Shelley] and Organ Concerto [Jennifer Bate] with the BBC SO/Atherton. Merseyside Echoes (1988, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic commission), a light-hearted reflection of the sound world of early Beatles, was also recorded on April 3 for broadcast and inclusion on the same CD.

'This is a fantastic CD from Heritage which showcases four superb works by Peter Dickinson. It is well-presented, superbly recorded and brilliantly performed by the soloists and orchestras. The liner-notes by the composer are detailed and essential for proactive listening. These works display Dickinson’s ability to write music that is at the same time approachable and challenging. His ability to fuse diverse musical styles is masterly: a fitting 80th birthday tribute. John France, Music Web International, 11
November 2014

SEVEN ORCHESTRAL WORKS - ON HERITAGE HTGCD 211

A BIRTHDAY SURPRISE, SATIE TRANSFORMATIONS, FIVE DIVERSIONS, BACH IN BLUE, MERSEYSIDE ECHOES, SUITE FOR THE CENTENARY OF LORD BERNERS, MONOLOGUE FOR STRINGS

BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES/ CLARK RUNDELL

'This is an outstanding retrospective of Peter Dickinson's orchestral music. It is brilliantly played, finely recorded and well presented. The liner-notes by the composer make essential reading. I get the distinct impression that the BBC National Orchestra of Wales throughly enjoyed recording these varied pieces...an essential CD for all admirers of Dickinson's eclectic style..' John France, Music Web International, 23 March 2016

'Throughout, as in the Concertos, there is an evident joy in subverting a music's original purpose through stylistic juxtapostions and Dickinson's piquant orchestration. The BBC NOW barely put a foot wrong. It's wonderful at last to have top-quality premiere recordings of these seven works that have waited far too long to appear on record.' David Threasher, Gramophone, June 2016 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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