Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Once more, with feeling

The first volume of this series by the great team of Tasmin Little and Piers Lane, which I reviewed here, was one of the top violin discs released in 2013. This new disc, to be released May 27, 2016, contains two incomplete violin sonatas, one partially written by Frank Bridge in 1904 and completed in 1996 by Paul Hindmarsh, and an early single-movement sonata begun but abandoned by Arthur Bliss in 1916, and prepared for publication in 2010 Rupert Marshall-Luck. The first sonata of John Ireland is a little in the shadow of his great second sonata, but it's the most substantial work on the disc, which is filled up with some sweet pastoral trifles from Ralph Vaughan Williams and (in a recording premiere) William Lloyd Webber.

The Bridge sonata is full of Romantic feeling, but it's rather slight. It's played with panache by Little and Lane, but not any more profoundly than it deserves. The two give the Bliss a more serious performance; the music is almost opulent at times, and the full emotional weight of its genesis during wartime and the death of his brother comes through. The musical centre of the disc, though, is the Ireland. Thanks to this performance I'm re-thinking my earlier view about this composer; this music is such an interesting blend of the English pastoral tradition with bits of Brahms, Wagner and the French Impressionists melded in.

On to round three?

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