CD Reviews

Images of Childhood

An unusual and charming recording of piano music has recently been released called Images of Childhood. It features pianist Lyn Garland playing pieces written for children and about children. Lyn Garland says that the project began in an enthusiasm for the piano pieces learnt in childhood which ‘filled our musical world’, and the recording includes pieces from Poulenc’s L’histoire de Babar, Britten’s Holiday Diary and Schumann’s Album for the Young. The latter had a large family himself and was prompted to write for them because ‘pieces that children usually learn in their piano lessons are so bad’. This recording, … will provoke happy memories among adults and could well inspire the young.

Susan CreweHarpers and Queen, April 1991

Finally, two discs that children and grown-ups will enjoy. For the younger ones I recommend Images of Childhood; the Australian pianist Lyn Garland plays no fewer than 37 short pieces, ranging from old nursery favourites such as Raff’s La Fileuse and The Bees’ Wedding through to new favourites, earticklers by Bartók, Messiaen and Poulenc. My neighbours, aged six and eight, have not stopped playing this charming record since I gave it to them four months ago.

John AmisCountry Week , December 1991

Any teacher seeking ‘spirited, sensitive and enchanting’ music to play to small children need look no further than concert pianist, Lyn Garland’s repertoire Images of Childhood.

Lesley Britten (Principal)London Montessori Journal, April 1991

BBC World Service “Recording of the Week” transcript of interview with conductor Hilary Davan Wetton reviewing “Images of Childhood” (download article)

Hilary Davan WettonBBC World Service

Clara Schumann / Saint-Saëns
Clara Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor opus 17
Saint-Saëns: Piano Trio No.1 in F opus 18

Triangulus – Meridian CDE 84355 62:49 mins

Clara Schumann was an extraordinary musician; a pianist with an international reputation and an accomplished composer. However, she will always be best known as the wife of the great Robert Schumann: the small extent of her creative output surely relates to the fact that she bore him eight children. The G minor Trio was introduced in Vienna in 1860, 36 years before her death. The music is elegant and sounds very much of its time. The movements are well balanced and receive a sensitive performance.

Saint-Saëns’s Trio in F is an early piece (op. 18 out of 169). The effortless fluency of the music recalls Berlioz’s observation that the young composer ‘lacked nothing except inexperience’. The slow movement is particularly engaging. The three players imaginatively sustain the music’s eloquent line, responding to the subtle ebb and flow of development with careful attention to dynamic shadings.

Terry BarfootBBC Music Magazine, December 1997

Clara Schumann’s music has been emerging from the shadows in recent years, revealing an individual imagination… it is an interesting document.

Saint-Saëns, prolific to a fault but incapable of a shoddy job, is more passionate, more purposeful. His Trio must be a joy to play and in this palpitating performance by the gifted Triangulus it offers melody, movement and joie-de-vivre in abundance. The recording quality is excellent.

Geoffrey CrankshawMusical Opinion, Autumn 1998

Hummel
Trios in Eþ op. 12 & 96, in F op. 22 & in G op. 35

Triangulus – Meridian CDE 84350 73:45 mins

Johann Hummel was born in 1778 and died in 1837. Gifted, but no genius, he was unlucky to have been overshadowed by Beethoven. None the less, he earned high repute as both pianist and composer. His works are all soundly constructed, melodious and undemanding. He wrote a deal of chamber music and those looking for unfamiliar fare will find these Trios excellent listening. The earliest is the one in E flat Opus 12, which opens the programme, but it is significant that the much later one in the same key, Opus 96, does not show much advance in terms of complexity. In between came the very sociable Trio in F Opus 22 and the most light-hearted of all, in G, Opus 35. The programme is played impeccably by the group which calls itself Triangulus, and the recording is excellent.

Geoffrey CrankshawMusical Opinion, 1998

Hummel was a pupil of Mozart, Salieri and Haydn. The finest improviser of his day after Beethoven, he personified the Viennese Classical piano school at its crest, able to craft a good tune, turn a nice ornament and fashion elegant music – as is evident from these rarely heard trios. Spanning a period from around 1803 to 1822, they are embodiements of charm, more Schubertian than Beethovenian in texture and idea, and free of the vapid note-spinning of Hummel the virtuoso.

Ates OrgaBBC Music Magazine, Dec 1997

Hummel
Trios in Eþ op. 93, in E op. 83 & in G op. 65

Triangulus – Meridian CDE 84409 68:24 mins

Hummel wrote seven highly respected piano trios, and this disc of three complements a Meridian disc from the excellent Triangulus of the remaining four. Though Hummel’s music is a model of rectitude, it is far from dull and occasionally memorable.

Antony ByeBBC Music Magazine, February 2000

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