Piano Sonata no 2
Specially composed for Duncan Honeybourne and first performed by Duncan at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, on 9th March 2003, with a second performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin on 10th March 2003. Subsequent performances by Duncan Honeybourne in Wednesbury Art Gallery (June 2003); Oban Cathedral, Scotland (August 2003); Elgin Library, Scotland (August 2003); Woodwick House, Orkney (August 2003); the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry - London première (1st September 2003); Kidderminster Library (September 2003); the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham (September 2003 and June 2005); Weymouth Arts Centre (March 2004); St Mary´s Church, Swanage (January 2005); Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery (May 2005); Bournemouth Pavilion (May 2005); All Saints Church, Newland, Forest of Dean (June 2005); Harting Music Club, West Sussex (November 2005); and Chichester University (April 2007). David Trippett performed the work at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in August 2004.
‘Downes has long loved the writing of Thomas Hardy and the distinctive personality of Hardy’s deeply rural home county, Dorset, a land eloquently depicted and reflected in the poet’s work. He wanted to give the Sonata a Dorset flavour on account of Duncan Honeybourne’s Dorset birth, and the second movement is especially rich in quotations from Downes’ Hardy settings... This deeply reflective, sensuous and haunting work today receives its world premiere.’ Duncan Honeybourne - programme note to the first performance.
The Sonata was analysed in an illustrated talk given by Michael Jones at the Malvern Hills Piano Holiday in August 2003 and also in the British Music Society News (www.musicweb.uk.net/BMS).
´The Sonata was well received by a sizeable audience who regularly support the Wednesbury Music Club and it is refreshing to experience a premiere where the music communicates effectively in the way premieres were regarded at the beginning of the 20th century, when such events were just that - an event. Duncan Honeybourne’s performance was the central point of an excellent recital...´ Michael Jones BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY NEWS
´Pianist Duncan Honeybourne played Downes´ powerful, Hardy-inspired Second Sonata without a hint of self consciousness. In this work, as in much of Downes´ music, short contrasted passages gradually yield to a sense of quiet exaltation - but so naturally that a flashy performance is unnecessary.
´With unaffected and sincere playing, the music speaks eloquently for itself; humane, optimistic and often extremely beautiful...Honeybourne immersed himself completely in Downes´ musical language.´ Richard Bratby BIRMINGHAM POST
A CD of Andrew Downes´ piano music, recorded by Duncan Honeybourne on the new Steinway Grand piano in Bournemouth Pavilion on May 15th 2005, has now been released on the Lynwood Music label, and can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , or using credit/debit cards through www.andrewdownes.com.