Drei Stücke (Three Character Pieces) for Cello & Piano, Op.14
Percy Sherwood (1866-1939) was born in Dresden of an English father, a lecturer in English at Dresden University, and a German mother, who was a professional singer. He was raised in Germany and attended the Dresden Conservatory where he studied composition with Felix Draeseke among others. After graduating, he pursued a career as a pianist and composer, eventually becoming a professor at the Dresden Conservatory. He enjoyed a considerable reputation in Germany and on the Continent and his works were often performed and held in high regard. By chance, he was visiting relatives and friends in England when the First World War broke out. Unable to return to Germany, he spent the war years in England and then chose to remain there the rest of his life. He wrote in virtually every genre. Among his many students was the talented Croatian composer, Dora Pejačevič.
It is not known when exactly Sherwood’s Drei Stücke or Three Character Pieces for Violoncello and Piano were composed. They were originally published separately in 1908. They are presented together here for the first time. The so-called character piece or set set of such pieces had, by the time Sherwood penned his, a long and distinguished history. Schumann is thought to have been the founder of the genre. Each pieces was intended to musically convey a mood or a tonal picture of some sort. The first piece is entitled Legende, a term usually meant to convey a folk tale of some sort. Here the music calm and reflective except for an agitated and passionate middle section. The brief and elegant second piece, Intermezzo, is clearly meant to be a breather between the opening work and the breathtaking finale, Saltarello. The music unrelentlessly races ahead with tremendous forward motion to its exciting conclusion.
We wish to thank Martin Eastick and Joseph Spooner for making the parts available to us. The work was recorded by Cellist Joseph Spooner and Pianist David Owen Norris on Toccata CD 0145. Performed together, these three pieces make an excellent recital selection, while any one of them would make a fine encore. Out of print for many years, we are pleased to make it available once again