One of the most grown-up review sites around

Apollo's Fire

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


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

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra

TUDOR RECORDS

TROUBADISC

A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

NORTHERN FLOWERS

World Premiere
Weinberg’s Concertino (cello)!

AVIE

Irish-Appalachian Celebration

REFERENCE RECORDINGS

Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review



an inspirational performance


An indispensable acquisition


The finest we have had in years


bewitching sound


Simply amazing


A splendid addition


One of the most enjoyable


quite superb!


utterly essential


A wonderful introduction


An outstanding CD


cheer-raising


One of the finest versions


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Richard ARNELL (1917-2009)
Violin Sonata No.1 (1940) [11:16]
Violin Sonata No.2, Op.55 (1949) [17:09]
Variations on an American Theme, Op.76 (1955) [10:54]
Passacaglia for solo violin, Op.23 (1942) [6:38]
Stanley BATE (1911-1959)
Violin Sonata No.1, Op.47 (1946) [18:57]
Patrick Wastnage (violin)
Elizabeth Dunn (piano)
rec. 2017, Henry Wood Hall, Trinity Church Square, London
TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0492 [64:57]

Though the booklet cover promotes Richard Arnell, one can see the name of Stanley Bate in smaller font size. Both composers, near contemporaries, are represented by their works for violin and piano written in the years between 1940 and 1955. Arnell is represented by four works, Bate by his 1946 Violin Sonata.

I think it was sensible to programme Arnell’s Second Sonata first – Toccata could just as easily have made things chronological had it wanted – as it shows a more tensile, brusque but also vertical sense of characterisation than the earlier work. This sense of tension and determined terseness is pervasive in the first movement and this makes the contrast with the delicate, almost ethereal central movement that much more striking. This beautifully lyrical Andante, with its cadential passage, is reflective and rapt. By the finale the jagged edges of the opening Vivace have been rather smoothed away, replaced here with a scherzo-light brightness, brief reminiscences of the slow movement and then an insouciant throwaway end.

His 1940 sonata is very entertainingly constructed. Its opening movement is stylistically rather closer to Bate’s work than to Arnell’s later self and embeds some charming lyric moments before the 38 second Adagio – blink and it’s gone - ushers in the longest of the three panels, a lyric, aerial, unostentatious movement that, when it says all it’s got to say, stops. The 1942 Passacaglia for solo violin is a commanding example of architecture and development whilst the Variations on an American Theme – dated 1955 in Lewis Foreman’s outstanding notes and 1953 on the back of the jewel case – offers a more open-air view of things. Its theme is, as Foreman suggests, rather Coplandesque and there is a balletic spirit to a couple of the variations - the work consists of a theme and seven variations – that along with the solo violin cadenza and the pacy, driving sixth variation vest the work with balance and drama. The final variation strikes me as a slow hymnal. Somewhere along the production line the tracking cues in the booklet analysis of the work have gone awry.

Bate’s Sonata has cleaner lines than Arnell’s rather greater astringency; maybe its engaging drama was part-derived from Vaughan Williams and there is a wistful, sorrowing quality to the second movement Lento, where the fiddle sings over the piano’s quietly spaced chords. A fresh-faced March is followed by a somewhat Bartókian finale; exciting, and virile.

Violinist Patrick Wastnage, of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, premiered Arnell’s Piano Trio, Piano Quartet and Salute for String Trio in the presence of the composer. Both he and Elizabeth Dunn have extensive portfolios as chamber musicians and it shows in their dedicated, sensitive and thoroughly imaginative performances. These are all premiere commercial recordings and as such are warmly welcomed.

Jonathan Woolf




Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger