Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

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


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Charles AVISON (1709 - 1770)
Trio Sonatas op. 1 and Keyboard Sonatas op. 8
CD 1
Six Sonatas for Two Violins and a Bass, op. 1*:-
Sonata No. 1 in chromatic Dorian mode [8:35]
Sonata No. 2 in g minor [10:23]
Sonata No. 3 in g minor [6:29]
Sonata No. 4 in Dorian mode [8:15]
Sonata No. 5 in e minor [6:32]
Sonata No. 6 in D [6:20]
CD 2
Six Sonatas for Harpsichord, with accompaniment for two violins and a violoncello, op. 8:-
Sonata No. 1 in A [8:20]
Sonata No. 2 in C [9:06]
Sonata No. 3 in D [8:33]
Sonata No. 4 in B flat [7:28]
Sonata No. 5 in g minor [8:10]
Sonata No. 6 in G [7:32]
The Avison Ensemble (Pavlo Beznosiuk, Caroline Balding (violin), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Robert Howarth (organ*, harpsichord))
rec. 11-14 December 2005, Paxton House, Berwick upon Tweed, UK. DDD
DIVINE ART DDA21214 [47:21 + 49:48]

Experience Classicsonline

After many years of long neglect the oeuvre of Charles Avison has recently been explored extensively. As a result the largest part of his output is now available on disc. The Avison Ensemble has played an important part in its rediscovery.

A look at the website of the ensemble (http://www.avisonensemble.com) reveals that his complete concertos have been recorded. With this disc two of his collections of chamber music are made available. That leaves two other collections of six sonatas each, the opp. 5 and 7, which contain sonatas in the same scoring as the op. 8 on this set. In addition there is some vocal music, including English adaptations of the 50 Psalms on Italian texts by Benedetto Marcello. As these psalm settings are very expressive I am curious to know how they sound in Avison's arrangements. It is to be hoped that we will get to hear them at some time.

So what about the chamber music which is the subject of this production? The two sets of sonatas are very different in character. The op. 1 follows the model of the sonata da chiesa as it was standardized by Arcangelo Corelli. Each is in four movements: slow - fast - slow - fast. They are well written and show a lot of variety. What makes them especially noteworthy is the amount of expression to be heard in particular through harmonic means.

The first sonata begins with a very short and dark adagio, which - after a general pause - is followed by an andante. The difference is not as clear as one would wish, since the andante is a bit too slow. The opening andante of the Sonata No. 2 is an example of a movement with a lot of harmonic tension. In this sonata it is also remarkable that the second movement - an allegro - merges into the next without a break.

The adagio of the Sonata No. 3 contains some dissonances, and is followed by a sparkling allegro with echo effects. The second movement of the Sonata No. 4, in which there is frequent imitation between the violins, is quite dramatic. Another dark-coloured adagio opens the Sonata No. 5, whereas the second adagio is full of harmonic tension. The closing allegro is dominated by little dynamic accents.

This is a captivating collection of sonatas, which is given outstanding and expressive performances. The ensemble is excellent, and the balance between the instruments is just right. Two things which seem to belong to the modern fashion in the performance of baroque music are happily absent here. There is no continuous shift from harpsichord to organ and vice versa in the basso continuo, and there is no lute or theorbo in sight.

With the op. 8 set we move to another world. These sonatas are modelled after the Pièces de clavecin en concert by Jean-Philippe Rameau. The strings just emphasize and give colour to lines of the keyboard part, but offer no original material. Accordingly these sonatas can also be played on keyboard alone. In light of this I think the balance is a little less than ideal. I would have liked less presence from the strings. At some points they are just a shade obtrusive.

These are nice pieces but not at the same level as those of Rameau. They lack the wit and playfulness to be found in the latter's Pièces. That said there is much to enjoy, even though the character of the various sonatas isn't always done fullest justice. The first movement of the Sonata No. 1 has the character indication 'andante cantabile', but it doesn't sound very cantabile to me. It is rather ponderous, mostly due to the heavy accents in the keyboard part. This is much more appropriate in the first movement of the Sonata No. 3, called 'marcia andante'.

The Sonata No. 2 is quite playful, but in the second allegro it comes much more to the fore than in the opening allegro, which is a bit too slow. The most sparkling movement of this set is the presto from the Sonata No. 4 which is given a fine performance in an appropriate tempo. The last piece is a set of variations, a habit which was not uncommon at the time. Corelli, for instance, closed his op. 5 - sonatas for violin and bc - with a set of variations on La Folia. The theme of the variations is very nice, and Avison has written beautiful variations on this subject. The ending is quite surprising, but I am not sure to what extent this was required by Avison or a dash of artistic freedom from the performers. Don't worry, it is all within the rules as far as I can tell.

Slight critical remarks aside this is an enjoyable set with music which varies from expressive to entertaining. The Avison Ensemble is once again an eloquent advocate of the oeuvre of this master of the English baroque.

Johan van Veen

see also review by Brian Wilson

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






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.