One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
Suite for viola and small orchestra [25:35]
Flos Campi (1925) [19:46]
Sir John Blackwood McEWEN (1868-1948)
Viola Concerto (1901) [31:14]
Lawrence Power (viola)
BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales/Martyn Brabbins
rec. BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, 2011.
HYPERION CDA67839 [76:37]

Unaccountably, this important release of British works for viola and orchestra, including what seems to be a premiere recording of the McEwen concerto, did not get a full review on this site when it was released in 2011, just a brief mention in a Download News. I say “seems” because Hyperion makes no claims that it is a premiere, but it is the only entry in Mike Herman’s discography of British concertos, and Googling doesn’t unearth anything.

All three works here were first performed by Lionel Tertis, and the McEwen was his first commission. My previous experiences with this composer were his string quartets on Chandos, which are in general much influenced by Debussy and Impressionism. This work is very different: indeed, I think it is reasonable to say that it is the viola concerto that Bruch never wrote. It is full of grand flourishes and noble melodies, and in the third movement a hint of Scottish folktunes.

The two Vaughan Williams pieces are relatively well known, especially Flos Campi. Power and Brabbins take a relatively pared-back approach to both works. It is the only version of Flos Campi that I own which comes in under twenty minutes. By way of comparison, the much admired version from Christopher Balmer with Vernon Handley and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is three minutes longer (review; also CHAN6545). The worry might be that the rapturous nature of the work is lost but that isn’t the case. There is no sense of rush but nor is there is a feeling of meandering. Given the composer’s reputation for briskness as a conductor, I think he would have approved of this.

My only other version of the Suite is with Frederick Riddle on Chandos, and while the two versions are almost identical in timing, the new one has a greater sense of forward momentum. The closing Galop is really splendid, and in case you are thinking that the poetry is being lost, let me assure that it isn’t, it just isn’t being smothered.

Lawrence Power is one of the pre-eminent viola soloists performing today, and has a number of well-received recordings of British viola works under his belt (Walton & Rubbra concertos ~~ Bowen & Forsyth concertos ~~ Bowen sonatas). His performances here are everything you would expect, and the support he gains from Martyn Brabbins and the Welsh orchestra and chorus are first class.

Production values are the usual high standard from Hyperion, and there is really nothing more I can say than if you are a lover of British music and this passed you by in 2011 as it did all but one of our reviewers, make haste to your usual source of record purchases.

David Barker


 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger