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Charles IVES (1874-1954)
Sonata, for violin & piano no. 2, S. 61 (c.1914) [14:13]
William BOLCOM (b. 1938)
Sonata for violin & piano no. 2 (1979) [17:48]
John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938)
Sonata for violin & piano (1962-63) [22:06]
Ching-Yi Lin (violin)
Zachary Lopes (piano)
rec. 2016, The Van Meter Auditorium, Western Kentucky University
MSR CLASSICS MS1553 [54:07]

What might seem odd bedfellows at first a disc containing these three composers makes perfect sense, for as the header to the booklet states, “Charles Ives, William Bolcom and John Corigliano have something else in common: they all enjoy mixing classical and popular music, as well as tonal and atonal passages, in a unique manner.”

Of the three sonatas presented here, the Charles Ives is by far the best known; it was composed in 1914 from previous works and revised in 1919. The Sonata not only quotes directly these earlier pieces but also quotes from American and British folk melodies, including ‘Turkey in the Straw’ and the Scottish ‘The White Cockade’. The result of this mish-mash is quite effective, although you do try and count the sources.

Both William Bolcom and John Corigliano were born in the same year but there are sixteen years between their sonatas. William Bolcom’s Second Sonata was composed in 1979 and pays tribute to jazz and blues. The juxtaposition between the blues motifs on the piano and the more atonal violin writing of the first movement is very appealing, even when the spikier second theme enters, this music holds your attention before the opening blues inspired music returns. The final movement is entitled In Memory of Joe Venuti; the great Jazz violinist had been a friend of Bolcom, with the movement being a homage to Venuti and his music. The result is an entertaining and interesting combination of styles, and a very interesting listen.

The final work on the disc is also the longest, originally entitled ‘Duo’ John Corigliano’s Sonata is a relatively early work, one in which the piano is in partnership with the violin. The work is a strongly rhythmical piece and one that shows great maturity, one which points towards probably the composes best known work, The Red Violin.

The performances of all three works are good, Ching-Yi Lin and Zachary Lopes are very good at developing the contrasts between the different sections, especially in the Bolcom, and whilst there are finer recordings out there, this is a fine collection and one to be enjoyed. The booklet notes are good, as is the recorded sound.

Stuart Sillitoe



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