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Leon McCawley – CD reviews







Beethoven – Choral Fantasy Op.80
Naxos 8.572783

Gramophone September 2012

A ragbag of ideas it may appear to be, but the Choral Fantasia is striking Beethoven. Leon McCawley plays the 26-bar solo introduction with a sense of ad-lib abandon, coruscating in the hailstorm of notes at its fortissimo climax. And he maintains throughout a feel for the improvisatory quality of the part. Wetton...stays close to McCawley at all times, resulting in a performance that has a cohesive hold on many a quirky element.
Nalen Anthoni

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MusicWeb International July 2012

Leon McCawley’s opening piano solo conveys a wonderful sense of improvisatory freedom. The variations for the piano and orchestra are played with drive and elegance in turn, featuring consistently lovely solo work from the orchestra. McCawley dispatches Beethoven’s difficult piano writing with aplomb and with the entrance of the voices the energy begins a build-up that leads to an overwhelming climax for the final bars.
David A McConnell

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BBC Music Magazine July 2012

The performance [of the Choral Fantasy] here benefits greatly from the contribution of Leon McCawley, whose account of the long opening piano solo has just the right degree of dramatic intensity and improvisatory freedom. With first-rate recorded sound, the disc is strongly recommended. *****
Misha Donat

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Sunday Herald June 17th 2012

It's coupled with the ramshackle Choral Fantasia, equally ebullient here and featuring sparkling pianist Leon McCawley.
Michael Tumelty

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Guardian June 7th 2012

The filler is the Choral Fantasia with Leon McCawley as piano soloist, done in a very grand manner, though also with great panache.
Tim Ashley

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Classical 91.7 KUHA June 2012

The Choral Fantasy is no less effective, no less ingratiating. Pianist Leon McCawley captures the improvisatory nature of the writing as few pianists have done. His long trills on all dynamic levels, especially in various shades of piano, are electrifying. This is potentially one of the year's best recordings.
Chris Hathaway

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David's Review Corner, May 2012

Leon McCawley, an outstanding exponent of Beethoven, makes out a good case for the Fantasia.
David Denton

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