Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

AVAILABILITY: Forsyth, 126 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2GR
Tel: 0161 834 3281 Fax: 0161 834 0630 Email:

Carolling: A Celebration for Walter CARROLL and Ida CARROLL

Piano Sonata in C minor and songs
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis Jubilate

Songs: Colours; Three Jolly Gentlemen; February; Jenny Kiss'd Me (soprano)
Songs: Nod; The Splendour Falls; Silver point; Weathers (baritone)
Vignettes for piano: Idyll; Mirages; Promenade.
Recorder and Piano:
Terence GREAVES Melancholy Piper
Michael Zev GORDON Dolce
John McLEOD Rainbow
Michael BALL Carolling
Jonathan Scott (piano); Alison Wells (soprano); Christopher Underwood (baritone); John Turner (recorder); Keith Swallow (piano)
Jeremy Suter (organ)
Cockermouth Harmonic Society/Michael Hancock
Rec. 2003?
FORSYTH FS004 [65.00]

Few of us who were brought up on early piano lessons with parochial music mistresses will fail to recall those piano albums, covers decorated with Rackham Fairies, and with poetic titles of music by Walter Carroll. Carroll’s is a name to many but is regrettably little known as a composer of larger scale music or furth of Manchester. This disc is by way of a tribute to this interesting composer and to his daughter Ida, Principal of the Royal Northern School of Music, for their work in the field of musical education. This uniquely combined the "sister arts" of painting and poetry for the young pianist. As so often happens musicians like Carroll were prevented, by their deep involvement in the educational side of music making, from having the time and energy to devote to any kind of large-scale composition. Nonetheless such compositions as they did manage to produce ought to be looked at with interest. Another such was the composer Dorothy Pilling of the staff of the Northern School who is also represented on this disc. Here both she and Carroll are well served by the instrumentalists and vocalists in a brilliantly crisp and clear recorded sound - almost as if one were in the very room leaning over the piano. The major work (sic) is the C minor Piano Sonata of Walter Carroll, written in 1892, superbly played by the young Jonathan Scott - a pianist of exceptional poetic understanding as well as technique. My respect for his playing increases every time I hear him. The Sonata itself, very much of its period, is in four movements, conventional enough, though bearing a slight influence from Sterndale Bennett, and, as the music develops, of Schubert especially in the Menuetto third movement. It is a big work lasting some 15 minutes. The decisive opening - used later in his orchestral Festive Overture, has decided hints of Schumann (in the 2nd subject) - a Beethovenian Adagio, the Menuetto, and a brisk and energetic final Allegro - all of which one might expect. Yet the Sonata has an appeal of its own that makes one wish the composer had been able to write more in this vein.

My first encounter with Dorothy Pilling's music was, mundanely, a book of short Sight Reading tests. I was much impressed with the amount of poetic colour she managed to infuse into this work-a-day medium. She is represented here by three short piano "Vignettes" which are as imaginative as anything from that so fertile period in English piano writing between the wars, holding their own with early Frank Bridge. (The final Promenade has decided echoes of Ibert!) In between those items are songs, also by Dorothy Pilling - all charming (in the best sense of that much misused word) and full of that sense of the poetic that both were constantly in search of. The song "Jenny Kiss'd Me" (Leigh Hunt) is a perfect gem, and the addition of recorder obbligato makes for some delightful moments. The second set, for baritone, is more advanced, including her setting of "The Splendour Falls" which perhaps rather fades in the light of Britten's setting. The disc ends with fine, if unadventurous settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and a final swinging Jubilate. The disc illuminates a frequently overlooked corner of this field.

Colin Scott-Sutherland


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