The Cd's title is erroneous. The Elgar Violin Sonata, one of a trio of chamber works Elgar completed after the First World War is the main item on this disc. Recorded before Nigel Kennedy chopped his hair off and started wearing John Richmond, the the haunting, twilight world of the sonata, the reflections, the aching nostalgia is captured to perfection.
Its a hugely insightful performance showing us what a fabulous musician Kennedy is. Its a gutsier, harder, more youthful performance than the classic Albert Sammons recording but I can't help but think Elgar would have been bowled over with his playing. This music seems to look back wistfully to happier times but doesn't need sentiment. Kennedy understands this (better than in his performances of the concerto I feel).
The fillers are an absolute delight. Elgar wrote wonderful miniatures that were in many great player's repertoire. Chanson de Nuit is played so beautifully by Kennedy, the odd hesitation here, subtle shifts in tone, suspense of vibrato for a moment, techniques that he has so employed in other classical recordings and of course in his work with jazz.
The sound of the disc is bright and atmospheric, early digital at work. Kennedy's pianist Peter Pettinger is sensitive and very sympathetic, though the piano tone is a touch forward.
For music lovers looking to explore lesser know works of Elgar, then this CD is compulsory. And then you need to get the Elgar Piano Quintet recording with the Allegri and John Ogdon!