Notes on the performers
Tim Rumsey is a tenacious, dynamic young artist with a passion for a wide variety of music. He is an experienced concert soloist and ensemble performer delighting audiences both large and small, having played at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Chichester Cathedral and the V&A Museum.
Tim’s interest in music unsurprisingly started at a young age, and he progressed from having music lessons locally to studying at the Junior Department at the Royal Academy of Music age 13. He went on to study at the Academy full time in 2017, completing his Bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours in July 2021, studying with Carole Presland. Being the Wisniewski/Derwent scholar for his Master of Arts degree under the guidance of his professor Colin Stone from 2021-23, Tim has recently graduated with the the additional award of Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music (DipRAM) due to his high performance and attainment. Tim also gained the Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music teaching qualification in the Summer of 2021 and loves teaching both piano and music theory to all ages and abilities.
Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)
Nocturne No. 4 in E-flat major, op. 36
Nocturne No. 5 in B-flat major, op. 37
The nocturnes, along with the barcarolles, are generally regarded as the composer’s greatest piano works. Fauré greatly admired the music of Chopin, and was happy to compose in forms and patterns established by the earlier composer. Morrison notes that Fauré’s nocturnes follow Chopin’s model, contrasting serene outer sections with livelier or more turbulent central episodes. The composer’s son Philippe commented that the nocturnes “are not necessarily based on rêveries or on emotions inspired by the night. They are lyrical, generally impassioned pieces, sometimes anguished or wholly elegiac.”
The fourth nocturne, dedicated to the Comtesse de Mercy-Argenteau, contrasts a lyrical opening section and an episode in E♭ minor with a sombre theme recalling the tolling of a bell. The first theme returns and is followed by a short coda. The pianist Alfred Cortot, generally a great admirer of Fauré, found the piece “rather too satisfied with its languor.”
By contrast with its predecessor, the fifth nocturne is more animated, with unexpected shifts into remote keys. Nectoux writes of its undulating outline, and the “almost improvisatory, questioning character” of the opening.
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
Le Tombeau de Couperin
Le Tombeau de Couperin (The Grave of Couperin) is a suite for solo piano by Maurice Ravel, composed between 1914 and 1917. The piece is in six movements, based on those of a traditional Baroque suite. Each movement is dedicated to the memory of a friend of the composer (or in one case, two brothers) who had died fighting in World War I. Ravel also produced an orchestral version of the work in 1919, although this omitted two of the original movements.