Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Works for Violin, Vol. 2
Sonata for Violin and Piano
Op. 82
Elevation Op. 11 (trans. F. Louis Schneider)
Pastourelle Op. 4 No. 2
Bavarian Dance No. 3 arr. William Henley
Bavarian Dance No. 1 arr. William Henley
Sospiri Op. 70 arr. Eirian Griffiths
Petite Reine - Berceuse Victor Beraud arr. Elgar
Polonaise in D minor edited by Christopher Polyblank
Dreaming arr. William H. Reed
Mot 'Amour Op. 13 No. 1
Valse on themes by Elgar completed by Christopher Polyblank
Interlude from the Crown of India
Op. 66 arr. Hugh Blair
Allegretto - Duet on a theme of GEDGE

Marat Bisengaliev (violin) and Benjamin Frith (piano)
rec 17/18 October 2000 at Potton Hall, Suffolk
BLACK BOX BBM1047 [68:33]
Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

This second volume of music for Elgar's instrument, the violin is well up to the standard of the first in terms of quality and inspiration.

Marat Bisengaliev, appointed Musician-in-Residence for Worcestershire in 2000, and an Elgar enthusiast, plays these works on Elgar's own violin adding that extra touch of authenticity.

Some of the shorter pieces date back to the composer's early days. The earliest is Reminiscences dated 16th March 1877, a pretty little derivative piece incorporating material written during his apprenticeship yet anticipating his mature style especially the falling figure in the violin line. The Allegretto has its origins in Elgar's early days as a peripatetic teacher and in particular his lessons to the daughters of William W Gedge the headmaster of Wells House School at Malvern Wells.

A number of the pieces included in the programme are arrangements. Two Bavarian Dances (Nos. 1 and 3) are included in arrangements by William Henley. The faster outer sections have plenty of bravura but the more lyrical big tunes come across as somewhat tentative. More successful are the transcription of music by F. Louis Schneider from Sursum Corda played here as Elevation, Billy Reed's lovely arrangement of Dreaming from Elgar's Nursery Suite, and Hugh Blair's haunting arrangement of music from the Crown of India that has some beautiful material for the piano (my ear was almost seduced away from the violin line). Then there is the exquisite Sospiri in a beautiful arrangement by Eirian Griffiths. Interestingly, we also have an arrangement by Elgar himself of a Worcester colleague's slight but engaging Petite Reine.

Praise must be given to Christopher Polyblank, formerly a composition student of Edmund Rubbra and currently County Music Inspector for Worcestershire who has contributed two editings of incomplete Elgar writings. The first is an exhilarating amalgamation of two incomplete polonaises for violin and piano dating from Elgar's Powick days and the completion of a familiar-sounding Valse dating from 1886.

Bisengaliev, unobtrusively and sensitively accompanied by Benjamin Frith gives warm, relaxed readings of these charming miniatures. Their cleanly articulated reading of the Sonata contrasts vigour with gentle Autumnal reflection, spiced, in the central Romance, with some engaging wry wit.

Ian Lace

N.B. For the more technically-inclined and for PC owners on-line to the Internet, the CD provides access to Black Box from where one can download an extra piece of music for violin and oboe.

See also Live concert review featuring these same works

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