Noel Mewton-Wood  (Pearl 0031)
Item# P0910
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Product Description

Noel Mewton-Wood  (Pearl 0031)
P0910. NOEL MEWTON-WOOD: Sonata # 1 in C; Sonata # 2 in A-flat (both Weber); Tarantelle in A-flat (Chopin). (England) Pearl 0031, recorded 1941. Transfers by Roger Beardsley. Long out-of-print, final copy! - 727031003120


"Noel Mewton-Wood’s journey from underestimated virtuoso to present-day icon is cause for both celebration and irony. Glowing testimonials to his ‘genius’ (Sir Malcolm Sargent) from Myra Hess, Beecham, Schnabel, Bliss, Hindemith and Britten were countered by indifference from the major record labels and concert managements, a situation that doubtless contributed to his suicide at the age of 31. Behind an ebullient surface, Mewton-Wood was a romantic idealist, susceptible to depression and mood-swings. So it is hardly surprising to find the dichotomy reflected in performances which alternate a luminous poetic delicacy with a rare energy and bravura."

- Bryce Morrison, GRAMOPHONE, Nov., 2003

“Noel Mewton-Wood (20 November 1922 – 5 December 1953) was an Australian-born concert pianist who achieved some fame during his short life. Born in Melbourne, he studied with Waldemar Seidel at the Melbourne Conservatorium until the age of fourteen. After further studies at London's Royal Academy of Music, Mewton-Wood spent time with Artur Schnabel in Italy. In March 1940, he returned to London for his début performance at Queen's Hall, performing Beethoven's third piano concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham. He later performed in France, Germany, South Africa, Poland, Turkey and Australia.

Mewton-Wood's The Times obituary of 7 December 1953 described his debut performance: ‘At once his remarkable control and his musicianship were apparent: the ascending scales in octaves, with which the pianist first enters, thundered out with whirlwind power, but he could summon beautiful cantabile tone for the slow movement and the phrasing of the rondo theme was admirably neat for all the rapidity of the tempo; a true understanding of the relationship in concerto between soloist and orchestra, and of the soloist's part in ensemble, betokened the musician, the potential chamber performer’.

Mewton-Wood was a close friend of Benjamin Britten. In 1952-53, while Britten was occupied in the writing of his opera GLORIANA, Mewton-Wood deputised as the accompanist for Britten's partner Peter Pears.

At the age of thirty-one, Mewton-Wood committed suicide by drinking prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide), apparently blaming himself for the death of his partner. Benjamin Britten wrote Canticle III: ‘Still falls the rain’ for Mewton-Wood's memorial concert.

In 1962, his old teacher Waldemar Seidel auditioned the 7-year-old Geoffrey Tozer, and declared ‘Noel has come back’. Noel Mewton-Wood died eleven months before Tozer was born.”

- Z. D. Akron