21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I first came across York Bowen when undergoing piano lessons: indeed, his piano pieces seemed to be a staple of the RCM exams.
Latterly I bought the exceptional disc of his Viola Concerto with Lawrence Power as the soloist: wonderful music in a hardly extensive repertoire for that particular instrument.
The latest CD on Dutton of Bowen's Violin Concerto and 1st Piano Concerto is similarly fine, both in terms of the level of inspiration evident in the pieces, and in their performance- ideal advocacy in both cases.
The violin concerto was completed in 1913, some three years after Elgar's, and it shares with the earlier concerto an expansive architecture entirely justified by the material (The concerto also puts me in mind of Dyson's violin concerto).It also ends with an accompanied cadenza with string soloists in a Richard Strauss (Metamorphosen)mould: however, lest I give the impression that Bowen is less than original, he is always his own man. This music sounds as if it falls naturally on the violin, though it is not without its challenges, and Lorraine McAslan's warm tone is ideally suited to this music.
Similarly, Michael Dussek plays the Piano Concerto with conviction and considerable flair(Can we have the other three now please??: a flashy affair but with engaging splashes of pianistic and orchestral colour which yet rewards repeated listening.
The admirable BBC Concert Orchestra gives of its very best, as usual, under the distinguished direction of Vernon Handley. This is an enjoyable and significant release.
on 15 December 2014
The violin concerto was completed in 1913, when the composer was 29, but was not performed until 1920.
Bowen composed a remarkable work, full of thrilling moments and brilliant melodies. The composer's inspitarion is at his best during all the extension of the piece. I have really enjoyed listening to this brilliant concerto several times, although perhaps after the first hearing one may think the work is too extended, but it needs repeated listening. So full credit to the people who have contributed to the resurrection of this piece which remained obscure and neglected, and here I would like to mention to the late, the great Vernon Handley, whose painstaking efforts to revive the repertoire I do not know whether have been acknowledged or not.
The piano concerto, written in 1903, is another thing. The composer, a teenager, shows off uninhibitedly what he could do, and so no opportunity for flashy pianism is ignored. This piece lacks the inspiration of the former work.
Strongly recommended for the violin concerto.