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The Hidden Violin: Romantic Virtuoso Works for Solo Violin
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)
Sonata No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20 [14:52]
Christian SINDING (1856-1941)
Chaconne from Suite in D minor, Op. 123 [10:05]
Benjamin Godard
Sonata No. 2 in A minor, Op. posth. [14:15]
Franz von VECSEY (1893-1935)
Prelude and Fugue in C minor [9:59]
Léon de SAINT-LUBIN (1805-1850)
Fantaisie sur un théme de Lucia di Lammermoor, Op. 46 [5:58]
Joseph JOACHIM (1831-1907)
Scottish Melody [2:24]
Vaughan Jones (violin)
rec. July-September 2013, Monkswood Studios, Waltham Abbey, UK

“The Hidden Violin” is an appropriate title, since Vaughan Jones has turned up a collection of works almost nobody knows, or even knows about, nowadays.
Benjamin Godard is known for two or three virtuoso violin pieces, and Dutton and Naxos have recently recorded his concertos and other works. Christian Sinding’s fame rests on a single piano miniature. Only Joseph Joachim’s name is likely to be recognized by most readers. Yet Jones managed to find an hour’s worth of unaccompanied romantic violin music.
Is it good? Well, some of it is, and all of it shows the influence of J.S. Bach. Sinding’s Chaconne in D minor is clearly inspired by that certain earlier violin chaconne in D minor, and it’s all the better and more dramatic for that. There’s even a similar midsection in the major key to give you false hope. On the other side of the coin, Godard’s first sonata is fairly plain, except for the baroque-influenced gavotte and minuet. Godard’s second effort is a serious improvement, again incorporating French baroque dance forms and Bach-like attention to form.
Léon de Saint-Lubin offers a skillful fantasy on the opera Lucia di Lammermoor - the first piece on the CD in a major key. Joseph Joachim gets a CD premiere with the Scottish Melody, a treat of an encore. Actually, the Sinding and Godard works are world premiere recordings, and it’s especially hard to understand how nobody got to the Sinding work first. By the way, was there room on this 57-minute CD for the rest of Sinding’s suite?
Vaughan Jones, a teacher and quartet player, treats all this music to the romantic playing style it deserves. Between his performances and his booklet note you sense great commitment to the project. I wish the recording was more sensitive, the better to communicate what he sounds like live. The acoustic is rather close and unpretty. In Vecsey’s prelude I winced a few times from the loud, shrill sounds which, if heard in person, Jones probably was not making. Still, it’s not a huge problem, and shouldn’t dissuade violin lovers from hearing this important, interesting recital that fills in the gap between Bach and Ysaye.
Brian Reinhart