In February, my course on French piano music took place at Benslow Music. Another course will happen in March 2021. I will lead courses in piano and wind chamber music at Jackdaws and at Benslow in September and November.
The Stoke Newington Contemporary Music Festival, due to take place in May, has been postponed until May 2021. I will give two major concerts. There will be a solo recital, ‘Wetlands’, celebrating composer’s responses to the natural world including a performance of Messiaen’s last piano work: Petites esquisses d’oiseaux. In the other concert I am joined by soprano Sarah Leonard. We will celebrate the music of Judith Weir in a programme which includes Weir’s scintillating piano piece The Art of Touching the Keyboard. I performed this last year in the presence of the composer. It takes its name from Couperin’s teaching manual L’art de toucher le clavecin and I will also be playing the rewarding and enigmatic preludes included in that work.
The first complete performance of Migas by Simon Holt will take place in 2021. A book on his extraordinary music was published by Boydell in September 2017. I contributed a chapter on the piano music and gave the first performance of a brief but diamond-sharp piece from the collection, Pink Sugar Skull, at the Royal College of Music in 2017.
My transcription of Rameau’s Pieces de clavecin en concerts is included on Rameau The Complete Keyboarders Music, Toccata Classics (TOCC0050,0051,0052 – BBC Music Magazine 5 stars). The transcriptions follow the suggestions of Rameau in 1741, who transcribed only 4 of the pieces himself. The subject was explored in my article for a special edition of Early Music : Jean-Phillipe Rameau and his world (November 2016).
Click below for info about recent projects, upcoming events and the Rameau recording.
Recent projects and recitals
13/3/2020 St James Piccadilly with cellist Ben Tarlton. Works by Dvorak and Franck
24-26/2/2020 French piano music course at Benslow Music
27/1/2020 St Peter’s Notting Hill with violinist Hana Mizuta Spencer. Strauss Sonata
19/1/2020 St John’s Waterloo with soprano Sarah Leonard. In commendation of music by Robert Hanson. Concert to celebrate the life and music of Robert Hanson
18/1/2020 St George’s Beckenham. Works by Rameau, Couperin, Mozart, Liszt and Ravel
15-17/21 French Piano Music course : Benslow Music
8/5/21 ‘Wetlands’ Piano Recital, Stoke Newington Festival including Messiaen’s Petites esquisses d’oiseaux
9/5/21 Recital with Sarah Leonard including Judith Weir’s The Art of Touching the Keyboard
Toccata Classics TOCC0052 (BBC Music Magazine 5 stars, MusicWeb International CD of the month)
Volume 3 contains the magnificent Nouvelles Suites. There are also some rarities on the disc. These include the fleeting Les petits marteaux, now thought to be by Rameau, and the 5th Concert from the Pieces de clavecin en concerts. The Concert includes one of Rameau’s most beautiful pieces La Cupis. A transcription of a giga from the Acte de ballet Pigmalion gets its first recording. It was found in manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale by the distinguished Rameau expert Graham Sadler who has again written the liner notes for this volume.
Some reviews of Volume 3:
Scott Noriega in Fanfare:
‘After playing this disc over and over again this month, I’ll be sure to run – not walk! – to my nearest shop to obtain the two releases I’ve missed out on thus far… the pianist’s sense of exploration, his wide tonal palette, and his rhythmic freedom can all be heard to good advantage, along with his intimate and scholarly knowledge of these works … Gutman proves a guide of the first order … there is hardly a movement in the entire recital that will not charm and delight the most judgmental of listeners’
BBC Music Magazine Michael Church
‘Gutman’s responsive touch brings out the dance rhythms underlying many of the pieces … When virtuosity is required … he delivers it effortlessly, and he does rustic charm in spades.’
Toccata Classics TOCC0051
Volume 2 was released in October 2012. The CD contains the astonishing Les Cyclopes, one of the very few of his pieces to have been taken up by pianists. There are also many rarities and new discoveries on the disc. These include 24 numbers from the opéra-ballet Les Indes Galantes, in their original 1735/6 keyboard versions, and my solo version of the 4th Concert from the Pieces de clavecin en concerts. The Concert finishes with Rameau’s self-portrait La Rameau. A transcription of an eloquent gavotte from the tragédie-lyrique Dardanus gets its first recording. The distinguished Rameau expert Graham Sadler has again written the liner notes for this volume.
A review of Volume 2:
Brian Wilson in MusicWeb International:
‘Stephen Gutman … shares with a very small number of pianists the ability to make modern piano performances of the music of this period sound as enjoyable to me as those on the harpsichord; in effect, I forget which instrument is being employed. That small group includes Angela Hewitt, who has recorded [Rameau] for Hyperion (CDA67597) and in Bach Glenn Gould … and Murray Perahia … Roll on the third and final volume.’
Some of the reviews of Volume 1:
Fanfare Barry Brenesal
‘Gutman has the technical resources to play this music … There is none of the sense of speed for virtuosity’s sake … Gutman’s album is a welcome addition to the field, as much for his distinct point of view as for the promise of so much Rameau.
BBC Music Magazine Nicholas Anderson
Gutman’s playing is engaging for its ornamental delicacy and communicative lyricism … I look forward to the remaining volumes
Gramophone Lindsay Kemp
The Pieces en concerts transfer joyously to the piano, at least in the no-nonsense performance they get from Gutman … performances well worth investigating