Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"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.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Two important concertante works from an underrated composer



The latest Lyrita disc in their Itter Broadcast Collection pairs two sadly under-played masterpieces by Edmund Rubbra: his 1936 (revised 1943) Sinfonia Concertante, op. 38 for piano and orchstra, and the Violin Concerto, op. 103, written in 1959. There's more discourse than display, as Joseph Kerman would say, in the Sinfonia Concertante, though Rubbra writes a mighty interesting if not flashy piano part (he was himself the soloist in the premiere in 1943). This performance, which like all Itter Broadcast Collection recordings was recorded to tape from a BBC broadcast, is from 1967, again with Rubbra at the piano, and Hugo Rignold conducting the CBSO. The very fine Violin Concerto is a recording of the second performance, only three days after the premiere in February 1960. Endré Wolf is the soloist, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rudolf Schwarz. Once again I am incredibly impressed by the musical and technical standards that allow recordings of this calibre to live so vividly after being plucked from the ether. As to the composer, Rubbra's standing in my eyes is higher after having lived with this music for a couple of weeks. Two solo piano encores are substantial, reflecting well on Rubbra as both pianist and composer, one a tribute to his teacher Cyril Scott, and the second a work by Scott himself, Consolation (1918).

This disc will be released on August 4, 2017

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