A couple of years ago the United 88031CD of Dunhills second violin
sonata played by Susan Stanzeleit made quite an impact. Before that you would
occasionally come across the odd song most memorably in Dame Janet Bakers
English song collection on a Saga LP. In more recent years The Cloths
of Heavens, a Yeats setting, has been recorded by Sarah Walker and Felicity
The composers son (for years a familiar voice on the BBC and the producer
of a 1975 broadcast of his fathers opera Tantivy Towers) has
now producer this rare CD: beautifully produced and including two piano pieces,
10 songs (full texts provided) and Violin Sonata No. 1 (1908) in D minor
Sailor Dance  is an entertaining piano duet akin to Graingers Gum
Suckers March: cheery but without Graingers anarchistic tendencies.
The solo piano piece Remembrance (1914-18) is an example of salon
charm, an English pastoral sketch.
The songs are well sung with clear articulation. The voice does sound a little
like Dame Janet Bakers. The Cloths of Heaven  and To The
Queen of Heaven are big songs and are as close as you will get to the
grand scena (cf Finzis Hardy or C.W. Orrs Housman settings).
The latter song betrays a slightly hooty tone but captures some
impressive, almost operatic grandeur, in the latin words which close the
song. April, a setting of words by Margaret Rose, is trippingly effective
and there is a smile in Pamela Faulkners voice. The second group of
songs are predominantly light. Two are from a show Something in the
City, written in the 1940s and are appropriately light and entertaining
surviving the overpay of cockney charm. I do hope that the materials
for the show are still extant and can be used to mount a revival. The
Catch About Love sounded as if might have escaped from the pages of
Granadoss Goyescas. Three Fine Ships is a swinging marine
ballad comparable to Michael Heads Estuary.
The three movement first violin sonata is a conservatively melodious piece.
The allegro non troppo is clearly influenced by the Bruch violin
concerto although both Brahms and Schumann are occasionally evoked. This
moves with minimal pause into the Romanza which is not a moment too
long. The tumbling pearly runs of liquid notes are quite striking as is the
jaunty episode at 3:10. The impassioned romanticism may well remind you of
the Ireland Violin Sonata No. 1 and the piano part of the Foulds Cello Sonata.
The movement ends in tranquillity. The Russian dance finale melts into some
noble gestures familiar, in spirit, from the Brahms piano concertos. Recommended.