Bax's second violin sonata is one of the most nuanced, subtly inflected duos ever written, requiring everything from gutsy, sweeping gestures to ethereal harmonics, all couched in a richly chromatic idiom that pushed tonality in new directions. Those who know Bax's "November Woods" will recognize the close kinship of this sonata with the seminal orchestral work. Jackson has the measure of this music and plays it all with a stunning tonal palette, ably matched by Wass. Reproduced on a good system and with proper volume levels, there is nothing reticent in this bold performance.
By the time Bax began composing his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in 1937, he had written six symphonies and numerous works for combinations of solo instruments and orchestra, only two of which, the Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra and the Cello Concerto, are actual concertos. (The pieces for piano and orchestra are more akin to Bax's tone poems than to genuine concertos.) Bax began the concerto in June 1937, finishing the short score in October. The piece was completed …….John Palmer @ Allmusic
Actually, there is a considerable amount of available versions in the market. But just a few possess the radiant sense of expression of Beethovenian pathos. Many connoted interpreters mistakenly play Beethoven just remarking the Romantic mood, without going deep inside the score, and overlooking the fact the genius simply cannot be labeled.
Enthusiasts have long clamoured for a Bax symphony cycle under the baton of the composer’s doughtiest champion, but even they could hardly have imagined that it would appear in one fell swoop – and from the same company that has already given us a sumptuous, if admittedly uneven, series under Bryden Thomson. Hats off, then, to the BBC Manchester Music Department (and executive producer Brian Pidgeon, in particular, for pushing the project through) and to Chandos for its foresight, courage and sheer enterprise.
The latest release in Hallé’s award winning series of recordings of works by Elgar couples his last great choral work with a fascinating collection of works which similarly remember the departed. Previous Elgar choral releases of The Dream of Gerontius (CDHLD7520), The Kingdom (HLD7526) and The Apostles (CDHLD7534) were universally acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including a Gramophone Award for each release. The largely overlooked The Spirit of England is arguably Elgar’s last great choral work. Thematically linked to The Dream of Gerontius the work sets texts from WWI poets and was premiered in sections during 1916 and 1917. In tone it is close to the melancholy of the Cello Concerto and Britten referred to its music as displaying “a personal tenderness and grief” as well as “genuine splendour”.
Where are these ethereal sounds coming from? These eruptions of temperament and gushing vivid color? Only a very few of those who listen to Ilona Then-Bergh and Michael Schäfer playing on their new CD in the un(!)erhört series will know who the composers Samuil Feinberg and Grigorij Krein were. But you can surrender yourself to their music, even if you do not know that the two fabulous Munich musicians are ……..
Russian-born Lydia Mordkovitch has become one of the leading British violinists from the latter half of the twentieth century. A David Oistrakh protégée who has lived in England since 1980, she is quite eclectic in her repertory, playing a varied selection of works by composers…
Vivaldi’s sonatas for violin and continuo follow his volume of trio sonatas, which, like these, paid homage to the acknowledged master of the form, Arcangelo Corelli, but staked out new, personal territory. Michael Talbot’s notes trace the origins of these sonatas in duets and various changes in their editions’ title pages if not thoroughgoingly in the nature of their conception.
Leila Schayegh, Václav Luks, and Felix Knecht present four of Franz Benda’s violin sonatas (and a movement extracted from another sonata) from a collection of 34 ornamented examples of the genre included in manuscript form among the holdings of the Berlin State Library. The ornamentation, provided for both the slow movements, for which Benda earned a reputation, as well as for faster ones, could serve as a sort of compendium of German period practice (Schayegh’s own notes suggest that the works hail from about 1760).
Piani was well enough regarded in his own time to get hired in Paris and then across the continent in Vienna, where he spent the last four decades of his life. He has been forgotten probably because the group of Sonatas, Op. 1, that are excerpted here are his sole surviving works. With the rise in popularity of Francesco Maria Veracini and the other Italians who took their music to France and England in the early 18th century, Piani is worth getting to know.