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British Violin Sonatas, Vol. 1 / Little, Lane

Ferguson / Walton / Britten / Little / Lane
Release Date: 06/25/2013 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10770   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Howard FergusonBenjamin BrittenSir William Walton
Performer:  Tasmin LittlePiers Lane
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I won’t be the first to point out that there are only two sonatas here but if we allow Britten’s early and archly enjoyable Suite and Walton’s lovely Two Pieces, then we can enjoy the two major works with their satellites, uninterrupted by pedantry.

Howard Ferguson’s Op.10 Sonata is a splendidly compact work full of incident. Little’s tonal resources are most opulent, and her expressive intensity of the Adagio is captivating. To cap things, she and Lane traverse the sonata’s dramatic and lyrical paths with conspicuous excellence.

Walton’s Sonata will always be associated with Yehudi Menuhin, for whom it was written and who premiered it in recital and on disc, on both occasions with Louis Kentner. Little's
Read more approach to phrasing is rather less intensive than Menuhin's and Kentner's, and she doesn’t replicate Menuhin’s very busy accenting, and probing intensity. Lane tends to turn corners with rather greater rhythmic speed than Kentner. The result is another fine performance, less personalized than the Menuhin-Kentner but vividly characterizing the second movement variations to great effect. The exciting Scherzetto was originally intended as the central movement of the Sonata but was, sensibly, excised - there’s plenty of contrast in the variations as it is. It’s heard here in Hugh Macdonald’s edition, and so too is the delightful Canzonetta, based on a troubadour dance.

Britten’s ripe Suite was completed when he was 22 and in its full form it was premiered by Antonio Brosa with Britten at the keyboard. Little manages to vest the Lullaby third movement in particular with really touching refinement, and for all the work’s somewhat knowing veneer this movement and the moto perpetuo second movement offer intriguing pointers as to the composer’s further development.

It ends a splendidly recorded and documented disc. It’s good to see Little and Lane - Britain’s best ambassadors for native violin sonatas - exploring ever further afield.

– MusicWeb International (Jonathan Woolf) Read less

Works on This Recording

Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2, Op. 10 by Howard Ferguson
Performer:  Tasmin Little (Violin), Piers Lane (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 16 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Suite for Violin and Piano, Op. 6 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Tasmin Little (Violin), Piers Lane (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934-1935; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 15 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin & Piano by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Tasmin Little (Violin), Piers Lane (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1947-1949 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 22 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Pieces (2) for Violin and Piano by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano), Tasmin Little (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1950; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 47 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Off to a great start July 26, 2013 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Tasmin Little's off to a great start with her survey of British violin sonatas. Volume One features Howard Ferguson's quintessentially British Violin Sonata No. 2, Benjamin Britten's cosmopolitan Suite for Violin and Piano, and three works by William Walton that fall stylistically somewhere between. Tasmin Little plays them all with an expressive yet precise manner, letting the merits of the compositions speak for themselves. <br /> <br /> Howard Ferguson was a somewhat conservative composer, writing in the English pastoral style after it had passed out of favor. His Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 10 is an elegantly crafted piece of music, sounding akin to Vaughan Williams' early string works. <br /> <br /> The Suite for Violin and Piano, Op. 6 is an early work by Benjamin Britten. Written two years before his Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, the suite shares the same sophisticated musical language. The angular melodic leaps, complex harmonies and sometimes frantic energy give the suite an international flavor. <br /> <br /> William Walton's 1947 Sonata for Violin and Piano begins lyrically, seeming at times to look back to the English pastoral school that Ferguson never left. In the second movement, Walton shows he was quite familiar with atonality and serialism -- even if he didn't fully embrace them. Two short violin pieces by Walton round out the album, each a delightful vignette. <br /> <br /> While each of the three major works has its own character, they compliment each other with their differences, and make a coherent program with their similarities. The result is a listening experience that is a pleasure from first to last. I look forward to volume two!" Report Abuse
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