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Cat. No. CHAN 10770 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10770 - British Violin Sonatas, Volume 1
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Available From: 20 May 2013

Chandos CHAN 10770

British Violin Sonatas, Vol. 1

Ferguson: Sonata No. 2, Op. 10; Walton: Violin Sonata, Two Pieces; Britten: Suite, Op. 6 – Tasmin Little, Piers Lane

Enjoying a flourishing career that has taken her to every continent and major orchestra around the world, the violinist and exclusive Chandos artist Tasmin Little continues to champion seldom-performed repertoire. This disc marks the beginning of her new survey of British violin sonatas with the pianist Piers Lane.

As a composer, Howard Ferguson had a preoccupation with technical finesse, which meant that he was a slow and meticulous composer. He produced only twenty works before he decided to abandon composition altogether in 1959, as a result of his lack of sympathy with the modernist trends of the day. Ferguson wrote his Violin Sonata No. 2 for the Israeli violinist Yfrah Neaman. The sense of anxiety that is conveyed throughout is highly characteristic of the works by this composer, as is the intensely economical motivic workings.

William Walton wrote his Violin Sonata as a gesture of gratitude to Yehudi Menuhin for having lent him 1000 Swiss Francs to pay for medical treatment of his partner at the time, Alice Wimborne, who had fallen ill while they were in Lucerne. The sonata is unusual in its two-movement format. Both movements are substantial, and this may explain why Walton dropped the two-minute Scherzetto which he originally had sandwiched between them. The Scherzetto was later published separately as one of the Two Pieces for Violin and Piano, the other being a Canzonetta based on a mediaeval troubadour theme. The Two Pieces were dedicated to Vivien Leigh and her husband, Laurence Olivier.

Long before Benjamin Britten became famous as an opera composer, his aptitude for composition was evident in a series of early instrumental works marked by their technical brilliance, few more virtuosic than his Suite, Op. 6. While this is true, Britten himself seemed undecided about the structure of the work, which went through numerous reconsiderations, the last of which he prepared just eight months before his death.

Reviews

 “…The new disc is strongly recommended, and promises much in the forthcoming issues from these fine artists.”

Phillip Scott – Fanfare – November/December 2013   

"...Sir Neville Marriner’s powers as a conductor show no slackening in this lively and youthful sounding programme, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields sounds at the top of its game on its home turf. This is a release with everything going for it.
 Dominy Clements - MusicWeb-International.com - 28 November 2013

Performance ****      Recording *****

“... nothing stands in the way of her [Little’s] forthright and superb communication skills... Little’s playing has ceaseless and strong support from Lane’s accompaniments; the recorded sound, in Suffolk;s Potton Hall, finds a lovely balance between state-of-the-art detail and warm resonance.”

Malcolm Hayes – BBC Music magazine – September 2013

“Howard Ferguson’s oeuvre is modest in extent but distinctive in character. His Second Violin Sonata of 1946 is concise and strongly argued, and Little and Lane give a fine performance ... Walton’s Sonata is nearly contemporary with the Ferguson and shares its strongly tonal language while being more expansive and sensuous. This performance is finely paced, with a sense of momentum that allows the listener to appreciate Walton’s mastery of large-scale form ...”
Duncan Druce – Gramophone magazine – August 2013  

 "Advertised as Volume 1 of a proposed series, this bodes extremely well. The appetite is whetted, in this initial release, by the choice of three highly contrasted examples ..."
Piers Burton-Page - International Record Review - July/August 2013

“...Excellent, stylistically perceptive performances bring out the individual personalities of each work and highlight the virtues of some rarely heard music.”  ****
 
Geoffrey Norris – The Daily Telegraph – 8 June 2013

“...Britten’s Op 6, a brilliantly early essay, satiric yet searingly lyrical – stylistic extremes well met by Little...”
 
Paul Driver – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) – 9 June 2013

 

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