CD Review- Gramophone Magazine on Franck, Falla and Turina Concertante works for Piano with KW, Valerie Tryon and the Royal Philharmonic

Critic Bryce Morrison writes in the Gramophone: 

Throughout her long and distinguished, if insufficiently acknowledged career, Valerie Tryon has remained true to her own lights. Virtuoso teasers such as Balakirev’sIslamey and Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit fell effortlessly within her grasp and here in Franck’s Symphonic Variations, sandwiched between two Spanish favourites of the repertoire, she commences a series of recordings for the Somm label. Accompanied by a ringing endorsement from Somm’s Siva Oke (‘Valerie became the yardstick by which I measured most other pianists over the years’) she once more displays her cardinal qualities, her immaculate grace and fluency. Nothing is pressured or exaggerated, everything falls naturally into place. And if others – notably Alicia de Larrocha and Martha Argerich – play with greater urgency and intensity, a sharper sense of profile in Falla’s ever-enchanting Nights in the Gardens of Spain, there is no gainsaying Tryon’s more intimate style and authority.

Polish rather than ardour characterise her encores continuing the Spanish theme (Granados’s ‘The Lover and the Nightingale’ and Debussy’s ‘Soirée dans Grenade’), but in the Bach-Busoni D minor Toccata and Fugue she finds her best form in a masterly performance and with gloriously full-blooded final pages. All three encores are issued on record for the first time; and all this makes a fine follow-up to Tryon’s memorable Mozart concerto disc (APR, 3/10) and a compensation for the lack in this country of a record of the Chopin Scherzos and Ballades, praised to the skies by New York’s Harold C Schonberg. Kenneth Woods provides a sterling partnership and Somm’s sound and balance are as natural as the performances.


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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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1 comment on “CD Review- Gramophone Magazine on Franck, Falla and Turina Concertante works for Piano with KW, Valerie Tryon and the Royal Philharmonic”

  1. Philip Amos

    It delights me that VT has joined a label that may work to bring the acclaim of which she has been so unfairly deprived, though she is not the only pianist who has suffered that. (One astonishing pianist, Dubravka Tomsic, astounded me in Bach the first time I discovered a recording of her, and I then discovered that she was quite magnificent in everything, every composer she played — in short, a true musician as well as a great pianist. In her earliest years, she was lauded and advised by Arrau and taught by Rubinstein, so what the hell happened? Well, we know the recording industry and management corporations so we know the answer to that!)

    Back to Valerie, I recall so vividly her many broadcasts for BBC Radio in her earliest years, when I was in my early teens. And much later there was that recording of Chopin! Magnificent, but on a label that is little marketed and normally receives little attention. I’ve often wondered in these days just how many artists there are of world-class quality but as unknown as those people who lie in the graveyard of Gray’s Elegy. I might add that Tomsic now has a dozen or so recordings in the Naxos Music Library, though on Vox and a label normally found in CD stands in supermarkets and the like. Still, at least we have some available.

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