- Performer: Louisa Stonehill (violin), Nicholas Burns (piano)
- Orchestra: Steinberg Duo
- Conductor: None
- Composer: Edward Elgar, Philip Sawyers
- Audio CD (9 Sept. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Nimbus Alliance
- ASIN: B00EO5LDL2
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,387 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Elgar & Sawyers Violin Sonatas
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Elgar + Sawyers: Violin Sonatas - CD
Taken as a whole, this CD is an excellent addition to the violin sonata repertoire. Respectable, honest, down-to-earth serial music … a subtle balance between dissonance and consonance, controlled structure and moments of sheer inspiration. --John France, MusicWeb-International.com, November 2013See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Suberb playing throughout and excellent sound quality.
I was interested to note the recording was made possible in part by a crowd-sharing website. Well done to all those who supported this excellent venture. A great disc for us all to enjoy.
On my first visit to the composer's birthplace at Broadheath the then new recording of the work by a young Nigel Kennedy (with Peter Pettinger) was being played. I had not heard the piece before and was immediately taken with it, buying the Chandos disc on the spot.
That said I have also been an admirer of the underrated Hugh Bean performance (with David Parkhouse) which I bought coupled with his excellent Violin Concerto (RLPO/Groves)....... so the present disc had a lot to live up to.
In truth I won't be casting aside Bean or Kennedy, but I did think this duo stood up to the comparison really well. I particularly liked the Elgar's slow movement..... very appropriate for this time of year. It always reminds me of sadly gazing through a window at a wet November garden, trees and plants dripping with rain, all set against a lowering sky.....the Steinbergs capturing this melancholy scene with great sensitivity.
That said, I think my interest was particularly piqued by the inclusion of the 2 sonatas by Philp Sawyers, a composer who has just crept into my "peripheral vision". Well, it's a name I'll certainly take proper note of now, since I was very favourably impressed by both works.
The sonatas have a tough, uncompromising feel to them, especially the first. This doesn't make them "knotty" or difficult to listen to, but that said there was plenty of drive and accented rhythms. In style a number of contemporaries came to mind: there was a Bartokian, Bliss-like muscularity, not unlike Rawsthorne and sometimes Bax in his more serious or angrier moods. Nevertheless there is also a determination and desire to "get above" such things and produce an ultimately positive outcome......and in fairness there are also more reflective moments in both scores, providing the violinist especially an opportunity to show her assurance in some delicate, high-lying sections.
Both Louisa Stonehill and Nicholas Burns (working as the Steinberg Duo) have been together since 2007, working regularly in both London and Banff (Canada). They have recently performed at the Blackheath and Fairfield Halls, and this marks their debut on this label. Once again Nimbus have done an admirable job of capturing the musician's sound in their own Concert Hall at Wyastone Leys.
If the programme appeals....purchase without further ado.
The Elgar Violin Sonata in E minor seems an interesting choice to include on this CD but, It seems to me, shows far freer expression of the emotions via the outpouring of the composition's less architectural structure than occurs in the Sawyers. Another type of Twentieth Century experience, not exhibiting advancement but, rather, a different approach.
One can only look forward to hearing more of Sawyers output in the future.
Looking forward to more future recordings.