New Naxos Release: Paul Bowles, Complete Piano Works (Volume 1)


New Release, 2016, Naxos Records (American Classics)

Paul Bowles: Complete Piano Works (Volume 1)

In this first installment of Invencia’s 2-CD release by Naxos Records, we are elated to continue our discovery of hidden treasures for solo and duo piano, through the works of Paul Bowles.

Known to many as an influential and innovative author, Bowles was also a brilliant composer in his own right, among the select few capable of lasting contributions in both literary and musical artforms. Bowles’ wit, lyricism, humor and charm are on full display in these recorded gems, evoking passages from his writings.

In the first of two volumes devoted to his complete piano works, the music is grouped cyclically, stylistically or thematically — sometimes by the composer himself and at times by Invencia Piano Duo. For example, Volume 1 opens with a collection of four pieces inspired by Latin American themes, evocative of the composer’s interest in the culture and his fluency in the Spanish language.

Overall, the surviving output of Bowles’ piano works displays an impressive stylistic mosaic reflective of broad interests in travel, languages, folklore, and literature, as well as his social surroundings. These gems are primarily miniatures or collections, each of the 33 individual tracks ranging from about half a minute to approximately four minutes in length.

The recording is dedicated to Irene Herrmann and Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno. Ms. Hermann is heir, executor and curator of the Paul Bowles musical estate. Mr. Sawyer-Lauçanno is author of An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. Irene’s and Christopher’s expertise, kindness, grace and unconditional support have contributed greatly to the success this project.

– Andrey Kasparov & Oksana Lutsyshyn



Click here to read Jed Distler’s review in Gramophone (July, 2016)

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© Invencia Piano Duo & Naxos Records

Paul Bowles

Paul F. Bowles (1910 – 1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. In 1947 he settled in Tangier, Morocco, where he lived for 52 years.

Raised in New York City, he demonstrated talents both for musical and literary composition. Educated at the University of Virginia, Bowles made frequent trips to France in the 1930s. From the late 1920s he studied music with Aaron Copland and wrote incidental music for the theatre. Subsequently, he pursued further instruction with Roger Sessions, Virgil Thomson, and Israel Citkowitz. However, critical success for his first novel, The Sheltering Sky (1949), relegated his earlier musical efforts to relative obscurity.

Paul Bowles died of heart failure in 1999 at the age of 88. His ashes are interred with other members of his family at Lakemont, New York.

It may be said Paul Bowles was a victim of his own successes, in that his notable capabilities as a composer were overshadowed by his literary achievements. Naxos hopes to redress this imbalance by showcasing Bowles’ music, with this latest release from Invencia Piano Duo: Volume 1 of his complete piano music.