Aureole etc.

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


UK from Seaford Music.
phone +44 (0) 1323 732553
fax +44 (0) 1323 417455
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Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op.8 (1865)
Peter SCULTHORPE (b. 1929)

Irkanda I for solo violin (1955)
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)

Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 9 (1895)
Christian HEIM (b. 1960)

Transformation for violin and piano(1993)
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Caprice Viennois
Marina Marsden, violin
Robert Chamberlain, piano
Recorded in the Iwaki Auditorium, ABC, Melbourne, Australia, September 1994.
TALL POPPIES TO067 [72.21]


A beautifully played and recorded recital of music old and new for violin and piano from Australia's Tall Poppies imprint. Marina Marsden programmes the doyen of Australian 20th century music Peter Sculthorpe against youthful Grieg, and young Australian Christian Heim against Carl Nielsen, before finishing with a Kreisler encore. Both the Grieg and Nielsen pieces come from relatively early in their careers but still show more than traces of the composers' characteristic musical fingerprints. As far as Grieg is concerned, this is particularly true of the central Allegretto quasi andantino, with its incorporation of Norwegian folk motifs - song and springar (folk dance). Nielsen continual reinvention of Brahms into something more vital and specific to his native Denmark, or at least Scandinavia, is evident here as much as in the later symphonic and orchestral works. The energy unleashed in the opening Allegro glorioso is typical as is the rhythmic drive. Grieg went on to write two further violin sonatas and Nielsen one but no-one interested in Scandinavian classical music can afford to miss their first efforts in the genre - they may not be the masterpieces of later years but they are a great deal more than derivative juvenilia. Marsden and Chamberlain's performance hear is pretty much ideal.

Peter Sculthorpe named a whole series of works with the word Irkanda, meaning "a remote and lonely place" in native Australian. This unaccompanied piece is also a relatively early work but is entirely idiomatic. The trademark "bird calls" are in there along with various uses of the violin other than conventional bowing - "pizzicato, harmonics and tremolando" add to the colours of the music which is a typically affecting nature essay by Sculthorpe. If you enjoy this piece, there are various discs available on the same label which deal solely with his music, including the magnificent string quartets.

Christian Heim is only just in his forties and wrote Transformations in his early thirties. It is an interesting piece, starting off with solo violin almost like an Australian Lark Ascending before entering a more dissonant phase. About halfway through, a greater order sets in and there is then an obvious comparison to be drawn with the expanded minimalism of Adams etc. as the piece wends its melodic way back to a final return to the tranquil opening mood. It certainly left me feeling that I would like to hear more by this composer. Marsden and Chamberlain first met in Vienna in 1985 and have played together ever since which may explain the inclusion of the Kreisler item - a Viennese bonbon cast in sharp contrast to the haunting Sculthorpe and tumbling Nielsen in particular.

As I have said in previous reviews of Tall Poppies material, the disc is a tribute to the company's production values, not only in terms of the music but the planning that goes into the programming and the packaging, including some superb and extensive booklet notes. Highly recommended to anyone fond of mixed composer chamber recitals.

Neil Horner

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