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Delius: The Complete Violin Sonatas CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Jun. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music
  • ASIN: B00292BYPW
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sonata In B op.posth
  2. Sonata No.1 (1905-14)
  3. Sonata No.2
  4. Sonata No.3 (1930)
  5. Allegro con brio
  6. Andante molto tranquillo
  7. Allegro con moto
  8. With easy movement - slow
  9. With vigour and animation
  10. Con moto - lento - molto vivace
  11. Slow
  12. Andante scherzando - meno mosso - Tempo primo
  13. Lento - Con moto - Tranquillo - Tempo primo

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 July 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I fell in love with the music of Frederick Delius (1862-1934) quite literally at primary school. I can remember being struck dumb with a lump in my throat when Mrs Rutherford played us `The Walk to the Paradise Garden'. This appreciation was cultivated by my Mother who familiarised me with the famous miniatures. Then, as I young man I discovered the choral works and the larger scale tone poems. Doing things the wrong way round, as I did, I didn't discover the likes of Beethoven and Shostakovich until my early thirties. When I did, their earnestness cast a shadow of doubt over what I perceived to be the sentimentalism and even mawkishness of Delius and other `English Pastoralists' I had grown up with, such as Vaughan Williams, which led me to neglect them for something over a decade. But people change, and sometimes even change back, and various factors have conspired to rekindle these affections, so I have recently had great delight rediscovering some old favourites. In the process it occurred to me that I had never explored any of Delius' chamber music, or indeed anything of his involving a piano. This disc came out high in my search of the Amazon listings and the prospect was intriguing. How would Delius manage all those lush, stacked chords in such a stripped back medium? Would he try and fail, or would I perhaps find another Delius entirely? I can say that I have absolutely no regrets about my purchase, and that aside from the near negligible price.

The first question one is inclined to ask is why did he suppress the publication of the clearly brilliant Sonata in B of 1892, eventually to be published posthumously? Superficially at least the bright and exuberant work comes across as that of a vigorous young man picking up the baton from a profound but exhausted Brahms.
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Tasmin Little, one of our supreme violinists, had the great advantage of knowing Eric Fenby, who wrote down the last of these works at the composer's dictation: for Delius was by then blind and paralysed. Tasmin first met Fenby when she was only 13; he showed her just how the music should be played, and continued to offer her guidance and support as her career developed. As it happened, she learned of his death on the day she and Piers Lane met to record these four sonatas in February 1997: thus the recording is as much a tribute to him, the composer's faithful amenuensis, as to the composer himself.
The three numbered sonatas were written between 1905 and 1930: but just as impressive in its way is the early unnumbered sonata, written in 1892, which remained unpublished until 1977. As Little remarks in her 'personal thoughts' on these works, it 'has an intimacy about it which is hard to resist'. It is clear that she truly loves this music, for which she is today the greatest living advocate. And Piers Lane is also clearly devoted to Delius.
All four sonatas, different though they are, are a source of joy; and it is hard to imagine them being better played or recorded. This is very accessible music, and - at any price - a most rewarding disc. Highly recommended.

Added in Edit: As an historic supplement to this disc, Delians should also consider Albert Sammons in the three numbered sonatas [plus the second by Edmund Rubbra] in a wonderful 2006 Dutton restoration [CDBP 9768]. The first sonata derives from unique unpublished Columbia tests made in 1929 with Evelyn Howard-Jones; and the second sonata, by the same artists, comes from very rare 1924 discs made soon after they had given the work's first performance.
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By anybody's standards, if you've got [] quid to spend and you want some undemanding (only from the listener's point of view; anything but, from the performers' side), reflective music to lose yourself in, then go ahead and buy this CD; it's a gift. I had to go back to the main page to check that it really is that price - I paid a pound more, but I've already had a pound's worth of extra time to listen to it.
Rooted in nineteenth century expansive, free-flowing lyricism, there are occasional hints of more modern harmonies and note sequences. You can't really sing along with these massive melodies but you sure wish you could. But if you can't stand to listen to anything less spiky than Bartok or Berg, perhaps you would be better to find another destination for your two hundred pennies.
There's a strong temptation to use cliché adjectives such as 'delicious', 'sumptuous', 'sensuous'; that, frankly, would be demeaning to the music, but I can't think of more dignified words to use, and yet still convey the all-enveloping pleasure of the listening experience. I imagine these sonatas must be overwhelmingly pleasurable and rewarding to play - there seems so much scope for self-expression in the prolonged melodic sequences; Tasmin Little is certainly convinced by the music and does an enthusiastic job of conveying that conviction, totally dedicated and uplifting in what she expresses.
At times, there is a little perturbation, rather than agitation, in the music, but the optimism soon returns with that sheer expansive pleasure for life that reminds me of - sorry, another potentially demeaning description coming - the visual impact of the opening scenes of 'The Sound of Music' viewed on a really big screen. There, I've probably offended all music lovers and film buffs in one go.
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