It is with great pleasure that we welcome pianist Clare Hammond to the Arcana playlist section.
Clare has just released a new solo album, Variations. It is a typically thoughtful and inventive program of works from the 20th and 21st-centuries, ranging from Adams to Birtwistle, Copland to Gubaidulina.
We invited Clare to complement her new album with a selection of her own favourite sets of variations, and she has obliged with some new discoveries. We begin with one of the greatest of all, the towering Passacaglia for organ by Bach, via Leopold Stokowski‘s colourful orchestration. Then we downsize for Louise Farrenc‘s Variations concertantes sur mélodie suisse, for violin and piano, before we hear from George Walker, the first African American to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and only recently getting more exposure as a composer. Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, with her Theme with Variations, offers a strong contrast to the Farrenc, again for violin and piano.
A Decca recording from 1993 follows, an early bit of recognition for the craft of Coleridge-Taylor and his substantial Variations on an African Air for orchestra. We go to piano for Lili Boulanger‘s typically concise and expressive contribution, before the wonderfully humourous, wacky and brilliant Variations on America by Charles Ives, in the orchestration by William Schuman.
Make sure you have a listen to this as well as Clare’s album, to be reviewed on Arcana soon. Our grateful thanks to her for an invigorating hour of music: