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
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
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.