are two historical recordings with sound to match. Obviously
both are in mono. However the Coates concerto is in vivid
meatily forthright mono. Orchestral balance assertively favours
the solo instrument with evidence of compression of the orchestral
tuttis - presumably to avoid distortion in this poetically
virile concerto. The Coates has been very smartly scrubbed
up and sounds pretty good with silent background and any scratches
and scuffs elided. Much the same can be said of the Moeran
which is not as bad as the dire warnings in the booklet suggest.
The disc is well documented by Lewis Foreman and Andrew Rose.
Coates has no connection with Albert Coates. Douglas was born
in Yorkshire, educated in Lancashire and moved to London in
1923-24. I had never heard of him until Jonathan Woolf mentioned
to me that these transcription discs had been found. Philip
Scowcroft did valuable detective work to fill in some of the
details. Sadly Coates’ scores, including a cello concerto
and a violin sonata, seem to have vanished ... unless you
Coates Violin Concerto is rather lop-sided with a surging
first movement running to over quarter of an hour followed
by two movements each lasting less than five minutes. The
outline of the work follows the standard fast-slow-fast template.
Yet that first movement is such an ardent outpouring that
one comes away wanting to hear it again and prepared to forgive
the short breath of the finale. The writing is big and potent
with the violin soaring in almost constant song over the tormented
orchestral part. Colin Sauer - at the centre of musical life
in the Dartington and Exeter areas during my youth - drives
this work forward with gorgeous sturdy tone and no little
poetry. The style is loosely comparable with Elgar, Bax and
Delius - whose voices you might have expected anyway - and
Miaskovsky - who you probably would not expect. There is no
trace of dissonance.
constitutes the fourth commercially released recording of
the Moeran Violin Concerto. The first was issued in
1979 on Lyrita Recorded Edition LP SRCS 105 (John Georgiadis,
London Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley). Then came the Mordkovitch
recording on Chandos (CHAN10168X Ulster Orchestra/Handley
in 1990. Then in 1999 came Symposium’s CD (1201) including
the Sammons broadcast recording from 1946 (see review).
pours an almost desperate intensity
into these pages. The mood is emotionally
exalted - exulting in melancholy
and beauty. Campoli is not content
to allow the generous poetry at
play throughout these pages to cool
the emotions. This is I think the
warmest and most passionate performance
I have ever heard of the piece.
I say that in knowledge of all the
commercial versions but also knowing
broadcast tapes of performances
by Ralph Holmes, Yfrah Neaman and
Tasmin Little. Going by the feral
stomp and romp of the middle movement
Boult shared the Campoli vision.
The music fairly flies - wild-eyed
and kicking up the dust from the
dancing floors of Kerry. Boult goads
his players to the edge of their
capabilities in the central toboggan
ride of a Rondo. The contour of
the movements is slow-fast-slow;
just like the Delius. Even in the
flanking slow movements Boult and
Campoli keep up the pressure to
a remarkable degree. Whatever this
tells us about Campoli it also reminds
us that Boult was in fact a fiery
conductor at times comparable with
Mravinsky and Golovanov.
we have it: a surprising discovery (the Coates) that survived
against the odds and a hothouse performance of the Moeran.