Notes and Editorial Reviews
The music of John Blackwood McEwen was unknown to me before I came across this disc of premiere recordings. I certainly will remember him from now on after repeated listenings to this Chandos discovery. Violinist Olivier Charlier has a sure grasp of the mix of French influences and English Romanticism that is a familiar trait of English composers of McEwen's era (he was a contemporary of Arnold Bax). His brilliant playing focuses special attention on the individuality and originality of each piece, all the while demonstrating commanding control and amazing reflexes, as in his quick shifts from glistening filigree figures to round, burnished low tones in the Sonata-Fantasia. He is fortunate to have a
superb piano partner in Geoffrey Tozer, who shows off his skill in passages such as the wonderful impressionistic scales in the Vivace finale of Sonata No. 6. The duo's energy and dramatic flair are equally impressive in the Prince Charlie Rhapsody (just listen to how Tozer evokes Chopin's Funeral March at the very beginning), with its episodic blend of traditional songs and Romantic musings. Chandos' sound reproduction is dead on, really bringing into focus the details of the scores and the musicians' interpretive nuances.
--David Preiser, ClassicsToday.com
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