Moeran: Piano Music (complete)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Moeran
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Piano Music (complete)
PERFORMER: Una Hunt (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 1138
The prospect of Moeran’s complete keyboard works did not, to be honest, have me slavering in anticipation, and this recording, its laudable intentions notwithstanding, did little to alter my preconceptions. It’s interesting but not terribly important music, pleasant but not arresting, well-crafted but without a distinctive voice, the kind of pieces you might find set by the Associated Board for examination purposes.

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Few of the 18 tracks last longer than three or four minutes, the most notable exception being Theme and Variation, at 13:28 by far the longest of Moeran’s piano compositions. Bank Holiday is a jolly Percy Grainger pastiche, The White Mountain and Irish Love Song are appealing folksong arrangements, On a May Morning could be by John Ireland, Summer Valley by Delius while ‘Windmills’ (from Three Fancies) has Moeran toying with Debussy. Stalham River and Two Legends find Moeran at his most individual, his attractive pastoral-English lyricism shining through.

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Eric Parkin recorded the same programme in the Nineties (on the Stafford label). The Irish pianist Una Hunt plays prettily and with obvious affection (she also contributes excellent notes to the attractive booklet) but her limited dynamic range and the monochrome recorded sound do not work in Moeran’s favour. Jeremy Nicholas