Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Antony HOPKINS (b.1921)
Portrait of a Composer
rec 2011
DIVINE ART DDA21217
[67:37 + 57:52]

Experience Classicsonline


 
I once wrote Antony Hopkins a letter about his association with the violinist Isolde Menges and he wrote a most charming reply. Hopkins was by then long established as a lecturer, broadcaster, composer, pianist and writer. His self-description as an ‘odd job man’ was, at least, quadruply modest.
 
This 2-CD selection of works attests to the high level of his compositional achievement which was invariably spiced with wit and self-deprecation. It’s been a delight to encounter and to discover so many works of his that I had never previously heard, and in such first class performances too. Take the Viola Sonata of 1945 for instance. He knows how to subvert a March theme but also employs the very English Ground in the second movement. There’s an intense Scherzo and a quizzical and quiet close to the concluding Epilogue. The sonata was dedicated to Jean Stewart, viola player in the Menges Quartet, and a player much admired in the profession, not least by Vaughan Williams. The Second Piano Sonata may be in Hopkins’s own words a Tippett imitation but its Rondo, which is all that we hear, is a folksy and delicious bit of writing fully deserving preservation. Isn’t the rest as equally deserving?
 
The ingenious cantata A Humble Song to the Birds reveals Hopkins’s sensitive word setting prowess whilst the Partita in G minor for solo violin is cut from a terser and tougher cloth. Dedicated to Neville Marriner, it was written for Max Salpeter’s Wigmore Hall debut. This is an outstanding discovery. The Partita isn’t especially reflective of Bartók or Ysaÿe, though in its concision and technical address it strikes me as being as interesting as Enescu’s violin works: I’d rate it that high. At only ten minutes in length it makes an urgent appeal to questing fiddle players.
 
The Third Piano Sonata absorbs folk elements and plenty of drama, whilst occupying that uneasy post-war corridor of testing, emotionally complex contingency and ambiguity. The 1952 Suite for descant recorder and piano has affectionate warmth and is very well written for the instruments. The Pastiche Suite somehow ended up in Thomas Beecham’s library, a strange one to fathom considering it was written for treble recorder and piano. The first disc ends with Three French Folksongs which were written for Sophie Wyss, for whom Britten famously wrote. The central song, Gail on la is especially delightful.
 
There’s no let-up in disc two which starts with the gorgeous 1948 Tango. We hear I’ve Lost My Love, an operatic aria and Four Dances from Back to Methusalah with some amusing baroquerie. Hopkins himself reads three poems of his that marry fun with knowing wit. One takes as its subject Jack Nicklaus (a parody of Good King Wenceslas) and another Charlie’s Revenge, the tale of an avenging cellist. Surely Charlie isn’t...Anthony Pini, known in the profession as ‘Charlie’? There are also bonus tracks which consist of some music from Hopkins’s musical Johnny the Priest (1960). The track features Jeremy Brett (of Sherlock Holmes fame), Stephanie Voss and Phillada Sewell, a full six and a half minutes, light music with choice percussion. Recorded in 1953 for Argo we also have the Trio from his opera Three’s Company for which Hopkins plays piano. Most attractive, if boxily recorded.
 
There is a series of works written specifically for Hopkins’s 90th birthday. They range from a playlet by Andrew Plant through an ardent setting by David Dubery, an attractive Pastoral by David Matthews, a rather more astringent piece by Anthony Gilbert, a wordless setting by Gordon Crosse and a gentle one from David Ellis. There are other tributes too, just as good.
 
Let me finally commend all the performers whose ardent playing contributes so materially to the success of this well-annotated disc. It is indeed a Portrait, and a very well deserved one too.
 
Jonathan Woolf

See also a review by John France
 

 
Track-listing
 
CD 1
Sonata for Viola and Piano (1945) [14:15]
Rondo from Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor (1945) [2:59]
A Humble Song to the Birds-cantata, for high voice and piano (1945) [8:02]
Partita in G minor for solo violin (1947) [10:10]
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C sharp minor (1946-48) [15:54]
Suite, for descant recorder and piano (1952) [6:06]
Pastiche Suite, for treble recorder and piano (1944) [3:44]
Three French Folksongs, for soprano, recorder and piano) (1947) [6:20]

CD 2
Tango for piano (1948) [2:35]
Three Seductions for recorder and piano (1949) [3:59]
First Love from Early One Morning, for soprano and piano (1980) [3:32]
I've Lost my Love from Hands Across the Sky for soprano, recorder and piano (1953) [3:31]
A Melancholy Song, for soprano, recorder and piano (1945) [1:04]
Four Dances from Back to Methuselah, for recorder and piano (1946) [4:03]
Three Poems (?) [7:58] read by the author.
Eight Tributes (2011):-
Andrew PLANT On How to Sing, for soprano, recorder and piano [2:03]
David MATTHEWS (b.1943) A Little Pastoral, for solo recorder [1:46]
David DUBERY (b.1948) Evening in April, for soprano, recorder and piano [3:28]
Anthony GILBERT (b.1934) Above all That, for recorder and piano [2:52]
Gordon CROSSE (b.1937) CantAHta, for soprano, recorder and piano [3:07]
David ELLIS (b.1933) Head Music, for recorder and piano [1:53]
Joseph PHIBBS (b.1974) Pierrot, for soprano, recorder and piano [3:43]
Elis PEHKONEN (b.1942) Pieds en l'air, for recorder and piano [1:57]

Bonus Tracks:
Two extracts from Johnny the Priest starring Jeremy Brett (1960) [6:35]
Trio from Three's Company, an opera by Antony Hopkins, libretto by Michael Flanders. OBE (1953) [3:38]
Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano), James Gilchrist (tenor), John Turner (recorders), Paul Barritt (violin), Matthew Jones (viola), Philip Fowke (piano), Michael Hampton (piano), Janet Simpson (piano), Antony Hopkins (speaker); Jeremy Brett, Stephanie Voss and Phillida Sewell (vocals) (Johnny the Priest); Elizabeth Boyd, Stephen Manton, Eric Shilling (vocals) and Antony Hopkins (piano) (Three’s Company)
rec. 24 January 2011 Bedford School (A Humble Song); 27 October 2011 St Thomas’ Church Stockport (Partita); 17 December 2011 Whiteley Hall, Chethams School, Manchester (Piano Sonata No.3 and Tango); 12-13 November 2011 Purcell School, Bushey (All other tracks)

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.