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EDMUND RUBBRA Chamber Music Vol 1; Violin Sonata 2 Op 31 (1932); Piano Trio 1 Op 68 (1950), Prelude and Fugue on a Theme by Cyril Scott Op 6g (1950); Piano Trio 2 Op 138 (1970); Fantasy Fugue Op 161 Michael Hill, piano; Kate Bailey, violin; Spike Wilson, cello; Lyn Fletcher, violin (violin Sonata) DERVORGUILLA DRVCD 104

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This CD offers an interesting cross-selection of Rubbra's abundant chamber music. The chronological programme is helpful in showing Rubbra's evolution. He found his mature style early and refined it subtly and slowly over the years.

The Second Violin Sonata, written a few years before the completion of his first two symphonies, is in three movements "of which the first and third display the structural freedom of Rubbra's larger works". The second movement is a Lament in ternary form. The final movement Allegro viva e feroce is "a tour de force in the perpetuum mobile tradition" (one may detect Bartokian echoes).

The Piano Trio 1 is in three sections played without a break: a slow section leading into a middle scherzando then to a "theme with three meditations". The work is capped by a brilliant coda though the prevailing mood is elegiac.

Cyril Scott had a vital formative influence on Rubbra and the Prelude and Fugue on a theme from Scott's first piano sonata is a tribute to his teacher whose teaching was not merely musical. "The work is a wonderful example of Rubbra's economical use of material and his expressive sensitivity...".

The Piano Trio 2, a much later piece is decidedly more Rubbra throughout, and shows evolution. A much sparser work than the first trio, it has only two movements: a Tempo moderato of some substance followed by a lively Allegretto scherzando quoting some material from the first movement.

The last piece on this CD, Fantasy Fugue, a short piece written for Michael Hill is also one of Rubbra's very last works. Hill, one of the composer's Worcester College pupils in 1962, has long been associated with his music and has the lion's share of the disc. His performances have the definitive ring of authenticity; all the performances are fully dedicated to and in complete sympathy with the music.

The above quotations are from notes adapted from Ralph Scott Grover's book, The Music of Edmund Rubbra (Scolar Press*). We eagerly await more volumes of this Rubbra cycle.

Hubert Culot


Hubert Culot

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