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Piano Works by Lennox and Michael Berkeley
Margaret Fingerhut
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This is another landmark in the Chandos Berkeley Edition but, even more, it offers some of the finest piano music by any British composer. Lennox Berkeley was absolutely at one with the piano, his own instrument, and his keyboard solos, duets and concertos are at the summit of his achievement. I have known these pieces for more than 50 years and can confirm that evey move [Fingerhut] makes is utterly musical and idiomatic. The melodies are allowed to speak for themselves in the great pianistic tradition stretching from Mozart to Ravel. Nobody else could have written this richly rewarding music and these performances confirm Fingerhut as an outstanding executant.
Peter Dickinson, Gramophone, 12/1/2004

Lennox Berkeley wrote some of the most distinguished British piano music of the last century. The major work is the Piano Sonata, Op. 20, an intense expression of Berkeley's maturity, composed during the Second World War and dedicated to Clifford Curzon. Especially delightful are the Six Preludes. Margaret Fingerhut is an accomplished and stylish advocate… For anyone interested in 20th-century British music, this is warmly recommended.
Tim Parry, BBC Music Magazine, 12/1/2004

For those of you who have not yet sampled the rich storehouse of the ongoing Chandos series this new release will be the ideal introduction… the newcomer will gain only pleasure and insight from this collection of some of the piano works of both composers. 'Attractive' can sometimes sound like damning with faint praise, but the shorter pieces, spread across 25 years, are unfailingly that, but highly varied, and often haunting, such as Paysage from 1944, or the weary barcarole that forms the last of the Six Preludes, Op. 23. The pianist Colin Horsley, long the foremost exponent of much of Berkeley's music, must have rejoiced every time a new piece arrived. The intriguing question, though, is what happens when Lennox Berkeley attempts something on a larger scale. Margaret Fingerhut here plays his Piano Sonata, Op. 20, significantly dedicated to that master of the classical tradition Clifford Curzon. Expertly constructed on classical lines, its strengths are a slow movement exploring a tactful vein of melancholy and a finale that makes no secret of taking its time to find a true way home. Not the least value of this Chandos series has been its convincing demonstration, here as with his symphonies, that Lennox was no mere miniaturist. This CD is invaluable… admirable notes by Andrew Burn lifts it into the category of essential.
Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review, 1/1/2005

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