Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

The complete sonatas
Violin Sonata (1931)
Cello Sonata (1939)
Clarinet Sonata (1942)
Roland Daugareil (violin)
Yvan Chiffoleau (cello)
Jacques Lancelot (clarinet)
Robert Plantard (piano)
rec 1980 ADD
SKARBO SK 4952 [48.41]
Amazon US

Ladmirault, like Ropartz and Lazzari, was a Breton first and foremost. The subjects he chose were often regional and north-western in inspiration. There is a Suite Bretonne (1903), the opera Myrddhin (1902) and incidental music for Tristan et Iseult (1929). The Rapsodie Gaelique (1909) was recorded by Beyer and Dagul. He studied with Gedalge and Faure in Paris but otherwise was based in Nantes, his birthplace. Ladmirault was the dedicatee of Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite. He and his wife were trapped in the Saint-Nazaire 'Pocket' during the Allied assault and sadly he died before the Liberation.

Jacques Lancelot has a somewhat liquid tone about which I have reservations. A cleaner sound would, to my ears, have been preferable. Robert Plantard (excellent throughout) accompanies with alertness and complements the coyly cheeky stance struck by the clarinet part in the Allegro. The Intermède and Andante might be Breton counterparts of the more restful Finzi bagatelles but the tunes are not as memorable. The Finale is decidedly Caledonian in the lie and skip of its themes. This should come as no surprise as he included Scottish melodies in his Gaelic Suite.

The Cello Sonata might easily appeal to anyone who has a special affection for the Dvorak Cello Concerto. Its flow has the same impress of ease and poignancy. This is further evinced in the central andante which sings with effortless flow. The finale runs with golden melody with an inflection of Rachmaninov and with the vitality of dance.

The Violin Sonata's first movement (there are four) flows in ecstatic effusion like the Delius Cello Sonata. It recalled for me the Cyril Rootham Violin Sonata, also dating from the 1930s. After a skipping and rippling scherzo comes a softly singing andante sounding like a blend of early Delius and mature Dvorak. A cheeky toe-tapping Rondo races away in elegant but never civilised abandon.

Brief notes provide some background. A great deal more could have been said. A good disc strong in the two string sonatas. Recommended.

Rob Barnett

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