Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)

Josef SUK (1874-1935)

Melodie arr. Jindrich Feld
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)

Ballade Op. 15
Emil MŁYNARSKI (1870-1935)

Mazurka Op. 7
Henri WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)

Chanson Polonaise Op. 12/2
Obertass Op. 19
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Barcarolle Op. 37a No. 6 arr. Watson Forbes
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960)

Five Negro Spirituals; arr. William Primrose

I’m a-trav’lin to the grave
March on
Gwine to ride up in the chariot
I’ll hear the trumpet sound
Rise mourners
Max REGER (1873-1916)

Three pieces Op. 79d
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Sonata in E minor K60
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Minuetto after Porpora
Preghiera after Martini
Allegretto after Boccherini
Graham Wood (violin)
David Bollard (piano)
Recorded June 1993 in the Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of NSW, Sydney
TALL POPPIES TP056 [67.55]

Graham Wood and David Bollard have been sonata and chamber music colleagues for many years and their sympathetic adaptability is a mark of lasting rapport. Wood is a Grinke student and is now associate leader of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra as well as a quartet leader. Bollard, New Zealand born, also studied in London – amongst others with Kentner and Katchen – and is active as a concerto soloist and recitalist, and prominently as a member of the Australia Ensemble. In this programme, mainly selected by the violinist – ten were actually chosen by him as part of the Violin syllabus of the Australian Music Examination Board – we hear an essentially Old School recital, enlivened by the appearance of a less well known piece or two. The disc’s rationale is nostalgia and the playing is commendably intimate and suitably reflective.

Bridge’s very early Souvenir, the piece that gives the disc its title, has never struck me as anything much above salon conventionality but Wood and Bollard are nicely lyric with it. They drive into the Martinů Impromptu with vigour, mining the skittish dance of the Andante moderato with acumen - and the motoric niceties of the concluding Allegretto moderato are equally well negotiated. I like the way they catch the drama and sweep of Dvořák’s Ballade and especially the heavy conclusive tread, tinged with a keening introspection that they evoke with such musical delicacy. If Młynarski’s Mazurka is rather predictable and generic there’s still plenty of room for snappy rhythms and drive, as here, and the duo embark on some Polish animation equally in the Wieniawski offerings. Wood reserves greatest variation and depth of vibrato for the first of Arthur Benjamin’s Five Negro Spirituals, I’m a-trav’lin to the grave, but I most appreciated the fourth of the set, the quietly complex I’ll hear the trumpet sound – excellent colouring and sensitivity from both musicians, as well, as they explore Benjamin’s little harmonic twists and turns. They’re delightful in the Reger items – I always associate these with Busch – and in the opening of the early, little but far from insignificant Mozart Sonata they manage to catch the strange wanderings of the lyric line. Wood’s Kreisler could perhaps do with a touch more idiomatic rhythm and tonal resource but it’s a pleasing touch to end with the underplayed Syncopation.

A most enjoyable recital then; nothing grandiose about the works or the conception but instead plenty of sympathetic give and take and a fine reflection of the two musicians’ abilities.

Jonathan Woolf

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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