Since many of Leon’s concerts have been cancelled/postponed due to the pandemic, he has created some live recordings in his home studio of some of the repertoire he had planned to play in his spring recitals. Here is a trilogy of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces to view here: Butterfly Op. 43 No. 1, Little Bird Op. 43 No. 4 and To the Spring Op. 43 No. 6.
Leon’s recent performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Domingo Hindoyan has received a wonderful review in the Cambridge Independent:
“McCawley gave a spellbinding performance of this concerto…[he] was superlative in the first movement’s lengthy cadenza (one of three Beethoven wrote for the concerto), and in the expansive and serene Largo where, towards the end, delicate trills and a throbbing, ever so slightly troubled, intervention in the lower keys leads on to the sprightly and spirited rondo. Leon McCawley’s understanding of this beautiful music was complete. It was impossible not to be moved by both the ability of the composer to create such a thing, and a performer who could engage with it so masterfully”.
Leon has received stunning reviews for his Haydn: Sonatas Volume II on SOMM Recordings from International Piano, MusicWeb International, BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone: ‘Light of touch, stylistically assured and brimful of intelligence and wit, Leon McCawley’s second instalment of Haydn sonatas for Somm fairly sparkles with delight’. Click here to read all the latest reviews.
Leon’s latest release of Haydn’s Sonatas Volume II for SOMM Recordings was featured today on Andrew McGregor’s BBC Record Review (listen from 4:00 into the broadcast- available on the BBC iPlayer until 13th October):
“First some sparkling Haydn from Leon McCawley…this makes for an excellent opening. McCawley is a persuasive advocate for, as the booklet notes say, Haydn’s ‘airy charm’, observing the wit without undermining the serious intent. A nicely focussed recording.”
Leon will make his sixth appearance at the BBC Proms on 31st August, performing John Ireland’s Piano Concerto with BBC Concert Orchestra/Bramwell Tovey in a special tribute concert to Sir Henry Wood. The concert will be recorded and broadcast on BBC4 TV on 1st September. Book tickets here!
Leon has received a terrific 5 star review in France’s Classica Magazine for his Schubert disc on SOMM: ‘Leon McCawley seduces the listener by a spontaneous performance devoid of any sense of narcissism. Here is an album communicated with such tenderness, naturalness and sincerity’. For the full review and all the latest reviews of Leon’s Schubert disc click here.
Leon’s performance of Ravel’s Oiseaux Tristes on July 19th was Suzy Klein’s Highlight of the Week on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. He was interviewed on the programme in advance of his upcoming UK summer festival performances at Ribble Valley International Piano Week, Petworth, Manchester, Belfast and Machynlleth. Click here to listen to the performance.
Leon’s recently released disc of Haydn’s Sonatas and Variations on SOMM has been awarded a Diapason d’Or in the July 2017 edition of French magazine Diapason. Reviewer Gaëtan Naulleau praises him highly: “What a range in his interpretation and how many layers of gradation! This is true of the whole album. Here and elsewhere one finds the eloquence of a neat punctuation which set it apart, which leaves some air between two notes or two ideas; McCawley ties these together, in a special quality of inflexions which make their point with great intelligibility and sensitivity. He moves towards us like a visitor, a feeling which the sound engineer has interpreted with care”. Also: “And his natural phrasing allows him to play, while observing each repeat, the Variations in F minor lasting about fifteen minutes, which become under his hands of a sculptor, a sort of string quartet for the piano”.
Leon was also awarded a Diapason d’Or back in 2006 for his recording of The Complete Mozart Sonatas on Avie Records.