I heard this was the first recording of the Coleridge-Taylor violin concerto and I can hardly believe that such a beautiful piece hasn't been snapped up before! This is my favourite CD of the year so far - really wonderful, both the music and the playing, what more can I say?
This piece, Coleridge-Taylor's last, finds him returning to his exuberant and spontaneous best. I'm a bit biased to say the very least, but I have to say that some of his works can at times have an over-embellished, slightly laboured feel - a bit clunky and Victorian/Edwardian sounding - but still not without its charm. The Violin Concerto is a great piece. The story of the Concerto itself is a fascinating one. The first version, based on an African-American spiritual, was rejected by the Americans who commissioned it, and the second was lost at sea. The Concerto here was written just in time for its American premiere but the stress and overwork that went into it, all had a part in the composers premature and tragic death from pneumonia brought on by exhaustion. Maud Powell, the violinst it was written for, said seeing it for the first time was like receiving a bouquet of flowers. This piece is earning Coleridge-Taylor a very well-deserved and very overdue revival. Charles Elford - author of Black Mahler The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Story
I heard an extract from the Coleridge-Taylor violin concerto on a Gramophone compliation disk and liked it so much that I tracked down the full CD. It's a wonderful piece - not too heavy, but expressive and life-affirming. I cannot understand why this is not a staple of the concert repertoire - try it and see!