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Delius: Violin Sonatas, Sonata For String Orchestra / Fenby, Menuhin


Release Date: 09/05/2006 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 70566  
Composer:  Frederick Delius
Performer:  Eric FenbyYehudi MenuhinElena Duran
Conductor:  Eric Fenby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Perhaps the colloquial title "Violin Sonatas" is on this occasion closer to the mark than the more formal "Sonatas for Violin and Piano": for in truth the violin sings for nearly an hour while the piano plays chords or arpeggiated accompaniments. Or so it seems in continuous performance. But what songs the violin sings! No lover of Delius's music needs telling today of their quality; nor does he need telling that Menuhin is beyond doubt one of the men who should be singing them, nor that Fenby, with his unique authority on the matter of what Delius meant, is singularly well placed to accompany them.

And so indeed it proves; there are many golden qualities in these performances, stemming from Menuhin's
Read more romantic tone and style, and Fenby's willingness to assume the accompanist's role in the most musicianly of ways. Indeed, if there are any lurking doubts about the total magic of the performances, they might reasonably stem only from consideration whether these particular qualities might be overdone: whether Menuhin's fine-spun line is too continuous, the phrases sometimes too long even in this context; or, again, whether the recorded balance is quite right, whether the piano should be brought up one notch—no more—in the general balance. Altogether more certain than marginal doubts about the balance are the splendid qualities of the recording as a whole: it is clear and most beautifully toned.

-- Gramophone [6/1980, reviewing the LP release of the violin sonatas]

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Any new record of Delius's shorter orchestral pieces is more than welcome and this one is notable for being directed by Eric Fenby, who makes his conducting debut on LP, has made the arrangements and contributes the sleevenote. All the music here is arranged, and almost always to its advantage. The opening Dance (originally a harpsichord piece) is particularly charming in this scoring with Elena Duran playing the solo flute part with feminine grace. She is no less good in La Calinda (an arrangement commissioned by James Galway) and how deftly she is accompanied. Note the delicacy of the gentle opening string ostinato or the nicely managed ritenuto at the end when the flute plays the lyrical codetta (originally allocated to the horn). The Five little pieces instantly recall the Elgar of The Wand of Youth in their mirliaturism and notalgic colouring. They are most fetching. The Sonata for strings which occupies Side 2 is an arrangement of the String Quartet, composed during the First World War. It is not one of the composer's strongest works and Eric Fenby makes a good case for the present version. The slow movement ("Late swallows") is already familiar in a 1962 arrangement—both Barbirolli (HMV ASD2477, 6/69) and Del Mar (RCA RL25069, 6/77) have recorded it; in 1977 the other three movements were added. Undoubtedly the slow movement contains the most memorable music; the rest of the piece tends to be rather diffuse, although strong in Delian atmosphere. It is played with skill and affection, and the recording balance, as throughOut this disc, is splendid. The record was made in the Guildhall, Southampton, and Neville Boyling, the balance engineer, is to be congratulated on the beauty of the sound, which has splendid bloom and warmth yet no lack of detail.

-- Ivan March, Gramophone [7/1979, reviewing the LP release of the orchestral works]
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Eric Fenby (Piano), Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1914; France 
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Eric Fenby (Piano), Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; France 
3. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Eric Fenby (Piano), Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; France 
4. Dance for Flute and Orchestra [arr. Eric Fenby] by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Elena Duran (Flute)
Conductor:  Eric Fenby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
5. Koanga: La Calinda by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Elena Duran (Flute)
Conductor:  Eric Fenby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1897; Paris, France 
6. Air and Dance by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Elena Duran (Flute)
Conductor:  Eric Fenby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
7. Sonata for Strings by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Eric Fenby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963/1978; England 
8. Pieces (5) for Piano by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Eric Fenby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922-1923; France 

Sound Samples

Violin Sonata No. 1 (2006 Digital Remaster): With easy movement but not quick -
Violin Sonata No. 1 (2006 Digital Remaster): Slow -
Violin Sonata No. 1 (2006 Digital Remaster): With vigour and animation - Slow and mysteriously - With vigour and animation
Violin Sonata No. 2 (2006 Digital Remaster): Con moto -
Violin Sonata No. 2 (2006 Digital Remaster): Lento -
Violin Sonata No. 2 (2006 Digital Remaster): Molto vivace - Più lento - Molto vivace
Violin Sonata No. 3 (2006 Digital Remaster): I. Slow
Violin Sonata No. 3 (2006 Digital Remaster): II. Andante scherzando
Violin Sonata No. 3 (2006 Digital Remaster): III. Lento - Con moto
Dance (arr. flute and strings) (2006 Digital Remaster)
Two Pieces for flute and strings (2006 Digital Remaster): 1. La Calinda (from Koanga)
Two Pieces for flute and strings (2006 Digital Remaster): 2. Air and Dance
Five Little Pieces (arr. small orchestra) (2006 Digital Remaster): 1. Mazurka for a Little Girl (Con moto)
Five Little Pieces (arr. small orchestra) (2006 Digital Remaster): 2. Waltz for a Little Girl (Lento, tempo di valse)
Five Little Pieces (arr. small orchestra) (2006 Digital Remaster): 3. Waltz (Gracefully and with verve)
Five Little Pieces (arr. small orchestra) (2006 Digital Remaster): 4. Lullaby for a Modern Baby (Very slow) (Elena Duran, flute)
Five Little Pieces (arr. small orchestra) (2006 Digital Remaster): 5. Toccata
Sonata for String Orchestra (2006 Digital Remaster): I. With animation
Sonata for String Orchestra (2006 Digital Remaster): II. Quick and lightly
Sonata for String Orchestra (2006 Digital Remaster): III. Late Swallows (Slow and wistfully)
Sonata for String Orchestra (2006 Digital Remaster): IV. Very quick and vigorously

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