Agnew: Piano Music (CD)
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Roy Agnew (1891–1944) – one of few early-twentieth-century Australian composers to gain international success – wove many external influences into a warmly Romantic personal style of striking variety and wide appeal, and his compositions, largely for the piano, are startlingly virtuosic, harmonically daring and charmingly sentimental by turn. Beautifully written by a natural pianist for his own instrument, they often recall the virtuosic textures of Liszt and Skryabin and occasionally show flashes of the Impressionist colours of Debussy. This is the fifth album that Stephanie McCallum – Associate Professor in piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – has recorded for Toccata Classics. The four earlier ones all focused on French composers: Alkan, Boely and Ropartz. Now she turns her considerable talents to rescue a forgotten composer from her native Australia.