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Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, September 2020

Matthew Schellhorn lends them immaculately stylish, raptly concentrated and memorably tender advocacy (‘June-Haze’ and ‘Down the Hills’ form a delectably limpid diptych in their own right), just as he is wholly attuned to the distinctly Ravelian soundscape of the exquisite 1917 Phantasy and endearing whimsy of Harlequin Dreaming from the following year.

Boasting exemplary production values, this superbly performed survey constitutes a copiously rewarding voyage of discovery; in fact, I’m already itching to hear the second volume! © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Alain Steffen
Pizzicato, August 2020

Starting with the beguilingly beautiful Summer Idyls (1911), it extends to the late works Pavane et Galliard (1964) and Peter’s Suite (1967-73). This style was consistently processed and developed by Howells, but without ever becoming extreme or atonal.

In this Vol. 1 Matthew Schellborn shows himself to be a brilliant pianist, who understands Howells’ moods excellently. The great commitment of the pianist is obvious, and he cares for the smallest detail so that, at least in terms of interpretation, there is real joy. All works are world premiere recordings. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review

Guy Engels
Pizzicato, August 2020

The pianist Matthew Schellhorn has decided to rediscover Howells’ piano music, an effort that is well worthwhile. Howells’ music has impressionistic traits, you can feel the breath of a Debussy. The titles alone indicate that the music is played here above all with nuanced timbres. It’s more about moods than descriptions: Phantasy, Harlequin Dreaming, Summer Idyls…

…Matthew Schellhorn impresses also with his sensitive playing, with the perfect balance between enough and not too much, leaving the music room to breathe and blossom. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, August 2020

Naxos have proved to be strong advocates of Howells’ music in recent years and this is another significant addition to their catalogue. It goes without saying that Volume two at least is eagerly awaited and perhaps after that Schellhorn will investigate more of the forgotten byways of British Piano repertoire.

Musically delightful and historically significant, this is an excellent disc in every respect. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Geoff Brown
BBC Music Magazine, August 2020

…Matthew Schellhorn proves a most sympathetic interpreter, reaching the peak of finesse in the sparkling aqueous ripples of the Phantasy, where he admirably sustains the music’s shape and flow. © 2020 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review

The British Music Society, August 2020

This disc is a welcome issue… Mr Schellhorn is clearly a very fine pianist. © 2020 The British Music Society

The Northern Echo, July 2020

With this album, pianist Michael Schellhorn sheds new light on just how significant Howells was as a composer for the piano… Schellhorn plays with supreme sensitivity, doing full justice to these works. © 2020 The Northern Echo

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2020

Though the British composer, Herbert Howells, was to create a very large portfolio of music in many genres, he is today largely remembered for his choral works.

Born in 1892, he was trained as a pianist in his younger years, the few works he wrote for the keyboard were mostly intended as gifts to his friends, only two published works included in his official list. The notes that come with the disc relate the discovery of these long forgotten scores in manuscript form, a revelation largely due to the Herbert Howells Trust. For this recording we are grateful to The British Music Society and there is more to follow, this being volume 1. We are further thankful to the soloist, Matthew Schellhorn, for unravelling scores that are, apparently, in Howells’ ‘spidery’ writing. The result is a most pleasing discovery, the influences obviously coming from French composers, and were, in length, quite short and are often picture cameos gathered together, by Howells, to form a suite. In time scale we move from the nineteen-year-old composer, almost musing in seven Summer Idyls, to the Pavane and Galliard of 1964. Over those years his style changed little, the upheaval the Second Viennese School brought to music never deflecting him from his tonal melodic format. At times he presents the pianist with a technical challenge, as in the five minute Phantasy, and the mercurial Harlequin Dreaming, and there is also sadness, Finzi: His Rest, penned on hearing of Gerald Finzi’s death in 1956, and weighed heavily on Howells. Schellhorn is a worthy Howells disciple who seems to have particularly enjoyed the seven pieces of the Petrus Suite. The disc’s sound quality is outstanding. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Records International, July 2020

This series sheds new light on Howells as a truly significant 20th-century composer for the piano. From the charming Summer Idyls, written before the composer began studies at the Royal College of Music (romantic character pieces from 1911), the Ravelian Phantasy of 1917 and several pieces in his “clavichord style” to the mature and subtle movements of the Petrus Suite (1967-73), we encounter an extraordinary range of pianistic expression. © 2020 Records International

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