> The Making of a Medium, Vol. 6: Sculthorpe, Diamond, Corigliano [HC]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Peter SCULTHORPE (born 1929)
Night-Song (1995)
From Nourlangie (1993)
David DIAMOND (born 1915)

Sonata No.2 for Violin and Piano (1981)a
Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano (1994)
John CORIGLIANO (born 1938)

Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963)b
The Verdehr Trio (Walter Verdehr, violin; Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, clarinet; Gary Kirkpatrick, pianoa); Ralph Votapek (piano)b
Recorded: WFMT Studios, Chicago, no dates


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Never one to waste a good idea, Sculthorpe often reworks some of his pieces for various instrumental forces. So, Night-Song was originally a movement from Love 200 (1970) for orchestra, two vocalists and rock band. Later Sculthorpe made a version for string orchestra (1996) and the present version for the Verdehr Trio. The original version was a setting of words by Tony Morphett and both later versions retain the song-like quality of the earlier setting. Nourlangie is the name of an enormous rock monolith in Kakadu National Park which impressed the composer enough to prompt him to write several pieces inspired by that site: the guitar concerto Nourlangie (1989), Little Nourlangie (1990) for organ and orchestra, the orchestral piece Kakadu (1988) and From Kakadu (1993) for guitar. From Nourlangie (1993) for piano trio also exists in a version for soprano and three players, and the present version for clarinet trio. This short piece is based on a Torres Strait dance-song of great charm. Both pieces are quite enjoyable and might be ideal either as concert-openers or as encores.

David Diamond composed his trio in 1994 for the Verdehr Trio. This is a quite substantial work in four movements of which the first one is in sonata-allegro form. This is followed by a short, lively Scherzo whereas the slow movement is a weighty ABA form incorporating some of the earlier thematic material. The last movement is also the longest and the weightiest of the whole work. It is also thematically related to the preceding movements and concludes the trio in grand manner. Diamondís contrapuntal mastery and earnestness of purpose are prominent throughout this often complex, utterly serious piece of music.

Diamondís Violin Sonata No.2, in two fairly equal movements, opens with an unaccompanied Ďcall to armsí for the violin followed by a secondary slower motif. The whole of the first movement alternates these germinal motifs with a contrasting long-breathed violin cantilena. After some further development, the first movement ends with a slow epilogue. The second movement is also mostly based on the same thematic material, still further developed. Diamondís Violin Sonata No.2 is a fine example of this composerís ability to develop some limited basic material in a startling way.

John Coriglianoís early Violin Sonata may seem the odd-man-out here; but, as Walter Verdehr remarks, he likes to play and record works by composers whom he admires and whom he would like to commission. Hence the inclusion of Diamondís and Coriglianoís violin sonatas. Coriglianoís work is a youthful work full of optimism and brimming with instrumental brilliance. A fairly traditional, though well written and very attractive piece.

At the risk of repeating myself, I will only say that the present volume is up to the standards set by the other instalments of this (thank God!) still ongoing series which has much to offer.

Hubert Culot

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