Reviews

Reviews of David's new CD "Music for Piano" (Divine Art dda 25110).


 "The music is tonal and attractive...generally in a lyrical and romantic vein. Sound quality, presentation and notes are all to be commended, resulting in a very good disc of enjoyable music and sound interpretation."
 
Em Marshall-Luck (Chairman of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society, writing in the Albion Magazine)
(Copyright Em Marshall-Luck 2012)


"David Jennings is a composer who is beholden to no-one in spite of a number of trajectories in his musical language. His is serious, well-structured music that I can do business with. More to the point, many of these pieces are not only impressive, but are interesting, satisfying and often moving. No listener or composer could wish for more. I loved [the] Sonata. It is surely one of the best examples to have come from the pen of a British composer for many years. This is a beautifully produced CD in every manner. The sound quality is outstanding, with each nuance of the music being clear. The programme is considerable in both scale and concept: the 'complete piano works' lasting over 78 minutes. The interpretation of these pieces by James Willshire is everything that could be wished. This is a CD of piano music that is inspiring and challenging." 
John France (Music Web International)

"This is true piano music. [The Piano Sonata] is the longest piece and the one which is most intriguingly original. A truly extraordinary Op. 1 which deserves regular hearings and public airings. [Among the other works are] evocative and beautifully crafted piano miniatures...each is a finely polished gem. The Prelude and Fugue is searching and dramatic. James Willshire's performances are faultless both musically and emotionally. I can only strongly advise that you buy this disc and enjoy for yourself a new and individual voice in British piano music." Gary Higginson (Music Web International)

"I really enjoyed this CD. The music is glorious and the performances by James Willshire are outstanding. I had already heard the Sonatinas in concert and was keen to hear some of the other pieces; I was not disappointed and this disc has been something of a revelation. I hope this music finds its way onto Classic FM so more people can discover it. I am so glad I bought this CD." Amazon customer

"The composer reveals himself to be admirably equipped in writing for the piano and James Willshire seems an ideal interpreter." Jonathan Woolf (Music Web International)

"Jennings' music is refreshingly straightforward and communicative, sometimes plainly neo-Romantic (the Harvest Moon Suite which is inspired by six 19th-century English watercolors; parts of the four-movement, 21-minute sonata, which also has some jazz influences in its second movement) while the short Sonatinas and the Miniature Suite are attractively neo-baroque in intent. Any lover of tonal modern piano music will find much to enjoy in these 78 minutes." Records International

"Jennings' music generally has a romantic beauty to it. He writes in recognizable forms - this album contains three sonatinas, a sonata and several suites for piano - and develops his material in traditional ways. The music is almost always tonal and has a generally positive, sunny outlook; it can be out - and - out jubilant at times. As attractive as Jennings' music is, it is also music of substance; none of it is fluff, and there's a clear sense that the composer has meticulously made this so." Paul Ballyk (Expedition Audio)

"...the interesting pieces on this disc are moving and emotionally satisfying. [Jennings] tries to make his music timeless and, to a great extent, it is. [The Piano Sonata is] original and invites the listener to sample it more than once. James Willshire is a fabulous pianist whose runs are as smooth as creamery butter. He has a wide dynamic range and a full palette of tonal and emotional color, too. Jennings has found an excellent interpreter for his piano works. The melodies in the Second Sonatina might make good art songs because they are long and memorable. [The Prelude and Fugue] proves that Jennings can be as ancient as Bach and as modern as tomorrow. The sound on this disc is excellent and it contains music that most certainly deserves a wider hearing." Maria Nockin (Fanfare)

"Opus 1, a piano sonata, opens with a ballade that has a lyrical main theme and a serene tone that gradually becomes more agitated. There are two lively jazz-influenced movements and a glowing slow one that offers the work's most eloquent music. From the late 80s come three charming sonatinas, innocent and flowing pieces in the manner of Schumann's Kinderszenen. The Three Lyrical Pieces are some of his most songful works, the Miniature Suite an homage to Bach that sounds like a cross between Elgar and the Baroque. Harvest Moon Suite closes the album on a pastoral note. The young pianist James Willshire plays all these pieces with warmth and an emphasis on the melodic line. David Jennings's music is not flashy or ostentatious, but it is melodic, open hearted, and well made."
Jack Sullivan (American Record Guide)


Concert Reviews

"It's not that often that one experiences a piece of Classical music with the composer in the audience and it is even less often that one experiences a piece of Classical music that is not dreadful. Jennings' sonatinas were neither ridiculously reactionary nor horribly modern: they were delightful little pieces combining both traditional and modern aspects of composition. [They] combine musical maturity with youthful exuberance." Jomar de Vrind (Virtual Lancaster, 11th December 2008)

"The highlight of the concert was undoubtedly the performance of the "Three Sonatinas for Piano" by Lancaster-based composer David Jennings. This was music of haunting beauty and memorable melody...we look forward to hearing more music by this talented composer, who was present at this performance." Simon Whitfield (Lancaster Guardian, 12th December 2008)

"The most remarkable part of the recital was a premiere of a new Piano Sonata by David Jennings. This Sonata, his first, was described in Phillip Fawcett's programme notes as "a major contribution to piano literature" and my gut instinct is that he was right. This work made a powerful impression in its compelling sense of musical drama. We must hear this music again soon." Martin Murray (Lancaster Guardian, 25th June 2009)