Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider
  • Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
  • Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano
  • IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra
  • Sinfonie Concertanti
  • IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra
  • Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


alternatively AmazonUK


Nicholas MAW (b. 1935)
Violin Concerto (1993) [41:48]
Joshua Bell (violin)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Roger Norrington
rec. Air/Lyndhurst Hall, Hampstead, London, September 1996
SONY CLASSICAL SK62856 [41:48]
Experience Classicsonline

This isn’t a new release. Maw’s Violin Concerto was written with Joshua Bell specifically in mind in 1993; the recording followed in September 1996. In the very enthusiastic sleeve-notes – I’m not sure how Maw feels about being described as a “genius” – great play is made of the work in relation to the Brahms Violin Concerto. Certainly it has a complex romantic affiliation but the composers’ names that occurred to me were those of Prokofiev and Walton. Not that Maw could be remotely taken to be either of them – but in its cultivation of an almost Italianate lyricism it does summon up the memory of Walton’s Mediterranean work and in its fusion of melodic beauty and scherzo drama it must pay at least oblique, tangential historical homage to Prokofiev.

The Concerto is cast in four movements. It opens with ruminative slowness but then opens out into a flourishing, rich and luminous sound world, bedecked by manifold orchestral and solo felicities; those little orchestral lurches toward the end for instance. The second movement is indeed Walton-like in its vivacity but Maw’s control of lingering lyricism, finely woven into the work’s fabric, ensures seamless warmth from the current-swell of dynamism that he generates. The lodestones here are Prokofiev and Barber but they’re securely absorbed into Maw’s lyric modernist world. The powerful cadential passage over a sustained orchestral chord is followed by a muted upwards drift into orchestral nothingness, a Cherubini-like stroke of translucent and mysterious beauty.

Maw’s predilection for major chords – the C major especially – permeates the third movement. Harmonies are richly complex and there are elements of post-impressionism in the writing, as well glimmers of Berg; but over and above such composer-spotting moments, which are essentially incidental, is the sense of luminous quiet, the rapture, the specific and yet endless personal landscape that Maw evokes. And when he unleashes the finale it comes brimful with tunes, vibrant and exciting, richly orchestrated.

Throughout Bell plays with the romantic ardour that Maw identified – and so admires – in him. His playing manages to balance scrupulous cleanliness of attack with tonal warmth and pliant phrasing. Norrington marshals the LPO in assured, colouristically aware fashion and the recording does full justice to the enterprise.

The Maw is a concerto that embraces its historical lineage without being shackled by it. If you admire the Berg, Barber, Walton and Prokofiev concertos, and like orchestration that is both luminous and pulsing then this is the work for you.

Jonathan Woolf

see also this overview of Nicholas Maw on disc



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