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The Romantic Violin Concerto Vol 5 - Coleridge-Taylor & Somervell / Marwood, Brabbins, BBC Scottish SO

Release Date: 03/08/2005 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67420   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Samuel Coleridge-TaylorArthur Somervell
Performer:  Anthony Marwood
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Evidence of highly intelligent life beyond the standard repertoire

Hyperion’s series of Romantic violin concertos continues its exploration of the byways with two almost completely unknown English works from the first three decades of the 20th century. One of them, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto, received its first recording only recently (with Philippe Graffin, Michael Hankinson, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, on Avie AV0044), while of the other, Sir Arthur Somervell’s, Anthony Marwood’s serves as the recording premiere. Both works, large-scale and theatrical, open with bold thematic statements that soon deliquesce into what now seem almost quaintly nostalgic sensibilities. And both, with their
Read more accessible melodic and harmonic designs, rich symphonic orchestrations, and expansive dramatic sweeps, might be taken by those unfamiliar with them to have originated, like Korngold’s, in movie scores. Lewis Forman’s notes reveal that both had been written for female violinists prominent at the time of their composition: Coleridge-Taylor’s (his last work) for Maude Powell in 1912, and Somervell’s (his last “extended” work) for Adila Fachiri—Jelly d’Aranyi’s sister—in 1930. While Coleridge-Taylor (like Sibelius, Elgar, and Goldmark) played the violin in his early years and therefore might have been tempted to re-experience earlier aspirations, Somervell had no such direct connection with the instrument. Perhaps that’s why his concerto lacks the vigorous virtuoso passagework that place Coleridge-Taylor’s well within the grand tradition. Anthony Marwood plays these works with patent sympathy for their poignant harmonic milieux. The engineers haven’t placed him far enough forward to jeopardize the more reticent relationship with orchestra in which Somervell placed his soloist nor far enough in the background to obscure the brilliance of Coleridge-Taylor’s solo. Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra play with the required warmth and loamy symphonic richness. Graffin, Hankinson, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra champion a somewhat different set of virtues. Hankinson and his Orchestra make, perhaps, grander although leaner symphonic statements, but they breathe less of the work’s moist period sensibilities. As soloist, Graffin, on the other hand, gives the impression of greater rhythmic elasticity; yet Marwood, in collaboration with the Brabbins and assisted by engineers who’ve placed him in a more commanding position, probes the Concerto’s alternating diamond and talc with greater sensitivity to its idiom.

Frederick B. Emery’s book on the violin concerto runs to some 615 pages, including hundreds of works in the genre. At one time, listeners, at least in musical centers where such works could get a hearing, must have enjoyed a variety that collectors have only in recent years begun to experience. Such concertos as Coleridge-Taylor’s and Somervell’s suggest that there lies behind the handful of pieces most frequently (and sometimes almost exclusively) played a massive backlog of works almost equally well made and grateful for the soloist. For those who might prefer to hear reflections on the violin by a less frequently heard composer to discovering yet another violinist’s attempt to comb out detail to personalize a war-horse recorded a hundred times over, Hyperion’s series, and this installment in particular, should be especially welcome; for others, it could serve as evidence of highly intelligent life beyond the standard repertoire. Warmly recommended to listeners of all types.

Robert Maxham, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 80 by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Performer:  Anthony Marwood (Violin)
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; England 
Concerto for Violin in G minor by Arthur Somervell
Performer:  Anthony Marwood (Violin)
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1932 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superb Disk Presents Unknown Concertos July 5, 2012 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "To say that these two works are little-recognized is an understatement; in fact, the Somervell concerto gets its premiere recording with this release. Hyperion continues its tradition of excellence established with its extensive Romantic Piano Concerto series and the shorter Romantic Violin Concerto series (this disk is Vol. 5 in the latter). I had a highly positive initial reaction to the Coleridge-Taylor concerto. The soloist Anthony Marwood, with great support from the BBCSSO, makes the entire work come alive in a technically brillint performance. The concerto is highly melodic, free-flowing, and downright fun to hear. The Somervell concerto is also a pleasant revelation. Full of melody and power, it was a distinct pleasure to hear it for the first time. This is an outstanding effort from Hyperion, and it can be recommended without reservation." Report Abuse
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