NEW CD RELEASE! STEPHEN BEVILLE - 'VISIONS AND VENTURES'.
J.S Bach Prelude and Fugue in E (Well Tempered Klavier, Book II) BWV 878; Prokofiev - Visions and Ventures, Op 22; Beethoven Piano Sonata in E-flat, Op 7.
Available to order or download here -
**** A stylish, adventurous recital, well balanced and technically impressive.
‘Beville opens with the Prelude and Fugue in E from WTC II, a work that integrates a sense of piety into a strong, improvisatory prelude in binary form, whose polyphonic texture gravitates to the dominant, in seamless motion in four parts. Under Beville hands, the stately fugue assumes a poised nobility of line, again conveying a poignant, reverential affect akin to the spirit of the B Minor Mass.
The [Prokofiev] pieces emerge as acutely acerbic studies in touch, compressed toccatas whose character might possess allure or uneasy intrigue, as required….The glistening sonority of No. 7 (Pittoresco “Arpa”) compels Beville to accord it special attention in his notes. Simultaneously enchanting and unnerving, these pieces reveal the mental and musical vigour of their creator.
[For the Beethoven] Beville makes splendid, often jabbing, colors in his realization, imposing a strong sense of formal outline for the sonata-form. The swirl of 8th notes makes its own impression as to Beethoven’s capacity for virtuoso technique. No less apparent are the bold procedures, such as harmonic wanderings or what commentators term “circuitous routes” in the passing harmonies in Beethoven’s development section. The playing of the coda projects a robust vitality’.
G Lemco, Fanfare, 2022.
STEPHEN BEVILLE IN KARLSRUHE
Piano Music by Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Boulez/Divine Art Label. ORDER HERE.
CD 1: Chopin Scherzo No 4 in E, Op, 54; Boulez Douze Notations; Beethoven Sonata in C minor, Op 111.
CD 2: Beethoven Sonata in E-flat, Op 81a; Schumann Fantasie in C, Op 17.
'This ambitious recital by a young British virtuoso captures him in both studio and concert performances. From the outset we feel the presence of an intelligent, controlled and searching pair of hands quite capable of imparting power as well as finesse. Beville assigns a grand leisure to the Arietta and its subsequent, intricate, Byzantine evolution through a host of affective gestures. When Beville builds up his momentum, the surge becomes persuasively emphatic, the intimate moments eerily serene. Well in advance of Scriabin, Beethoven’s trill liberates the spirit into some primal aether....The last movement (of the Schumann Fantasie) plays directly into Beville's hands, an apt gesture from one young poet to another.'
Audiophile Audition 08/2012
'Beville is a thoughtful artist, whose accounts of each of the established masterpieces are well worth hearing.'
Musical Opinion, 11/2012
'It might be useful to think of this recital as the island of Boulez surrounded by the sea of Romanticism...the steely, tautly structured music of the great French modernist anchors and sets the tone for the way Beville approaches the balance of the program....
The Boulez is from early in his career, 1948, in fact his first published work. It displays both the mathematical rigor of his writing, but as well, a sense of expressivity that too few associate with this vital musical spirit. Beville plays this music brilliantly. The Chopin Scherzo No 4 in E, which is the least stormy of the scherzos, is dispatched with a clean, deliberate approach that is tender, but rhythmically taut. Beville is never tempted to moon over any coloristic or sentimental elements of the music.....compared to Arrau, Ax or Rubinstein (as much as I revere the playing of those three), I did find Beville's way with the score, in a word, refreshing....
ORDER YOUR STEPHEN BEVILLE SCORE HERE.
PURGATORY PIECES FOR STRING QUARTET
SCENES FROM DREAMS (5 PIECES FOR SOLO PIANO)
'The detailed focus that Beville applies to pitches and their re-ployment in musical space is really interesting because the result is genuinely expressive while avoiding conventional gestures and textures. In this is interests seem not so far removed from a composer like (Milton) Babbit, with his emphasis on presenting relationships whose totality ramifies throughout the musical space in all its dimensions.....in time, register, rhythm, duration and timbre.'
Justin Conolley, composer.
' The question how such a strong intellectual artist would play Schumann was answered in the three movements of the Fantasie, Op 17....The answer was to be found in a knowing between Intellect and Emotion. The melody bloomed, the rhythm was precise an the dynamics were very carefully realised. Stephen Beville's extraordinary subjective interpretation left a deep impression.'
Badische Neuste Nachrichen
'I was very impressed...especially by his insights into the Schumann Fantasie and the Beethoven Op 111.'
Peter Katin, concert pianist
'The solo CDs are really phantastically played, super Beethoven, very intelligent and radical, Bravissimo!'
Quintessenz Music Agency, Munich.
''Excellent' - Rob Cowan, Classic FM.
Beville obviously loves [Beethoven's] music and it would be well worth hearing how his vision of it evolves. He certainly plays the op.81a with great charm... He seems determined to make the blistering opening movement [of the Schumann Fantasie] more smart than passionate...But then, he delivers a bold and electrifying march through the second movement, and an absolutely gorgeous and dramatic performance of the great slow finale. Beville wrote his own thoughtful and informative notes. Certainly, his is a career to keep an ear open for.'
Peter Burwasser, Fanfare magazine, 04/2013.
' This is a fine second release from British pianist Stephen Beville ...I particularly enjoyed Bach's solemn 4- voice Fugue following the busy Prelude, essentially in 3 voices. Beville’s contrapuntal clarity is a model of how to balance voices....[Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives] allow the pianist to cover a wide range of tempos, dynamics, and articulations, all of which are exceptional on this disc...Beethoven’s Sonata No 4... is a fitting conclusion for this program. Beville investigates all of the composer’s constrasts of texture and harmony to give a very satisfying rendition. The recorded sound is good, and along with the pianist’s detailed booklet essay, it completes a quite satisfying recital'.
J Harrington, American Record Guide 11/2022.