This is a fascinating two-disc anthology of pieces for violin and piano...There ought to something for everybody here. Of the ten pieces, six are first recordings which is of interest in itself...Most of the music is fairly conservative for the time and tends to be lightish in content. Hans Gál’s sonata though is a serious essay in the form. It is the longest piece and its ambition rather overstretches the composer. However, this is a first recording of a work that is, as I understand, still unpublished and is definitely worth a listen. Another first recording is Walton’s early Toccata which I enjoyed for its juxtaposition of rhapsody and youthful rigour. A more traditional form of English pastoral rhapsody is provided by Ivor GurneyRead more whose piece is predictably called The Apple Orchard.
The Austrian violinist, David Frühwirth, and his excellent accompanist Henri Sigfridsson, are very much at home with most of the music, particularly that which has a late romantic indulgence to it such as the Frederick Rosse suite. Korngold’s suite, Much Ado About Nothing, also shines in performance. It is probably the best known music in the anthology, apart from the Threepenny Opera, and, dare I suggest, among the finest music...Frenkel was a violin virtuoso and Karl Rathaus’s Suite, Op. 27 was dedicated to him. It is a richly varied piece with a punchy, rhythmically jagged final movement. The piece that follows on the disc is another arrangement by a distinguished violinist, Albert Sammons. He must have enjoyed playing it for Frederick Rosse’s The Merchant of Venice suite has some deliciously romantic, soaring melodic lines.
AVIE is to be congratulated for producing this rather off-beat double disc set. It combines a small amount of familiar music with some lesser known, and the first recordings will, I am sure, be revelatory to some listeners. There is a helpfully informative note on each piece and David Frühwirth in his own note on the enterprise exhorts us to “enjoy it”, declaring, “there is more to come!”. That’s good news.