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Paul Bowles (1910 - 1999), Anthony Burgess (1917 - 1993) and Mikhail Alexeevich Kuzmin (1872 - 1936) were all victims of their own success, in that their notable abilities as composers became overshadowed by their achievements as literary giants. We move to redress that imbalance by showcasing some of their musical output, prompted by this month's new release from the Invencia Piano Duo of Vol. 2 of Paul Bowles' Complete Piano Music.

BOWLES, P.: Piano Works (Complete), Vol. 2
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Paul BOWLES (1910–1999)
Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2

The Invencia Piano Duo

The American writer and composer Paul Bowles spent much of his life in Morocco. He is primarily remembered for his novel The Sheltering Sky but also excelled as a composer in many forms. His piano music spans an impressive variety of styles and reflects his wide cultural interests. Among his most celebrated works is the brilliant, cornucopian Night Waltz. This second and final instalment of Bowles’ complete piano music also includes sequences of evocative travelogues and imaginative miniatures, the visionary and complex harmonies of Tamanar and the unorthodox, fragmentary, kaleidoscopic Sonatinas.

Listen to an extract from Sonatina Fragmentaria:
II. Allegro

More music by Paul Bowles
Born and raised in New York City, Paul Bowles demonstrated his musical proclivities early in his life and subsequently had a busy composing career throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He created works in almost every musical genre up until the late 1940s when he settled in Morocco’s artistic city of Tangier, where he spent the rest of his long life. During the latter period, his productivity as a composer slowed considerably as he concentrated more on his literary career, which produced several books and collections of short-stories including “The Sheltering Sky” and “The Spider’s House”.
BOWLES, P.: Piano Works (Complete), Vol. 1
The Invencia Piano Duo
Listen to an extract from Sonata for 2 Pianos:
I. Strict tempo

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BOWLES, P.: Music for a Farce / Scènes d'Anabase /
DELLO JOIO, N.: Variations and Capriccio

Glazer, Mueller, Bailey, Masselos, Hess, Marx, Travers, Dello Joio
Listen to an extract from Music for a Farce:
VI. Allegro (Tempo di marcia)

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BOWLES, P.: Picnic Cantata / POULENC, F.: Sonata for 2 Pianos
Davy, Flowers, Gaither, Wynder, Howard, Gold, Fizdale
Listen to an extract from A Picnic Cantata:
IV. The Sunday paper is full of news

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Music by Anthony Burgess
Best known as the extraordinarily inventive and prolific author of over sixty books, including “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Wanting Seed”, Anthony Burgess originally set out to be a composer and regretted that his writings overshadowed his music: “I wish people would think of me as a musician who writes novels, instead of a novelist who writes music on the side”, as The New York Times quoted him in 1970.
BURGESS, A.: Orchestral Music - Mr W.S. / Marche pour une Révolution / Mr Burgess's Almanack
Brown University Orchestra, Paul Phillips
Listen to an extract from Mr W.S.:
I. Prelude: The Theater: Allegro molto

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Music by Mikhail Alexeevich Kuzmin
The name of Mikhail Alexeevich Kuzmin stands in the history of Russian culture primarily as that of a great poet of the twentieth century, and a man whose writings significantly shaped the paths of Russian modernism. Like many outstanding artists, his achievements were largely obscured during the Soviet epoch; but in more recent years, not only his poems, but his prose, translations and musical compositions have become widely appreciated as influential cultural models.
KUZMIN, M.A.: Sacred Songs / The Society of Honoured Bell Ringers / Masquerade
Shkirtil, Karelia State Symphony, Serov
Listen to an extract from Masquerade:

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