Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH

Buy through MusicWeb for £10.00 postage paid World-wide.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Purchase button

 

New England Legacy
Quincy PORTER (1897-1966)

Violin Sonata No.2 (1929) [16:10]
Four Pieces for violin and piano (1947) [12:51]
Walter PISTON (1894-1976)

Violin Sonata (1939) [17:22]
Amy BEACH (1867-1944)

Three Compositions Op.40 (1898): La Captiva [3:25]; Berceuse [3:02]; Mazurka [3:06]
Joel Pitchon (violin)
Jonathan Bass (piano)
rec. Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall, Smith College, Northampton MA, undated
GASPARO GSCD 367 [56:18]

 

I like discs like this. They have a programmatic security and intelligence to them. They survey time and place and do so imaginatively. This one also shouts a name - to me at least; Louis Kaufman. This is just the kind of thing that luscious tonalist would have given us, a bewitching recital of Americana. In fact he did leave us with one inscription to duplicate the Gasparo collection - Quincy Porterís 1929 Second Sonata where he was accompanied by Artur Balsam; you can find it on Music & Arts CD 638.

Unfettered by such considerations however the Pitchon-Bass duo steps up. The Porter sonata is a fine one, with its share of jazz era moments in the second movement and highly superior canonic writing in the first. Its lyric profile means that a rich toned player can extract the maximum in emotive contrasts and the pianist can also act as an infectious partner in this respect. This is a good performance. The contours sound right, the duo is finely synchronized and their instincts are just. I liked Bassís jazzy take at 2.30 in the Andante. What I missed, being critical, is the sense of narrative commitment that makes the Kaufman-Balsam so heady an experience. The impetus is rather lost in the newcomerís performance, especially in the slow movement. The finale too is not nearly so richly characterised as in the older performance; itís touch placid and at a slower tempo. Porterís Four Pieces are unpretentious genre pieces but they show how well he knew the instrument Ė he was a fine violinist.

Pistonís Sonata dates from a decade later, on the cusp of World War. Itís a far more austere work as one might imagine from the temperaments of the respective composers. But Pistonís lyric sensibility shines through without impediment in this performance, its more frankly dissonant moments discerningly realised as well. The slow movementís melancholy-tinged direction could do with more tonal variety than we find here, though the finaleís fugal section has plenty of vigour. There are also moments when the violin seems rather backwardly balanced.

Amy Beachís New England bears similarity with the genre warmth of Porterís much later Four Pieces. Hers too are steeped in violin lore and date from 1898. Le Captive is for the G-string, a lyric parlour effusion, whilst its companions breathe much the same air Ė unobtrusive and pleasurable and not at all pretentious.

An enjoyable recital then from two responsive musicians. Greater tonal variety and tensile strength would have brought greater results but perhaps that restraint is a suitably New England quality.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Prťalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallť
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.