Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)
Violin Sonata no.2 (1922-23 arr. 1929)
Violin Sonata no.3 (1930 arr. 1932)
John IRELAND (1879-1962)
Cello Sonata (1923 arr. 1941)
Violin Sonata no.2 (1915-17 arr. 1918)
Roger Chase (viola)
Michiko Otaki (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 24-26 May 2009
supported by the John Ireland Trust.
DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7250 [70:06]

This disc valuably gathers together a series of Tertis arrangements of works by Ireland and Delius.

Lionel Tertis's life centred on the viola. Later in life he worked with violin maker Arthur Richardson in creating the Tertis model viola which had greater weight of tone and carrying power. Up to the age of sixty he had commissioned many original scores and arranged others for his instrument. Tertis's biography by John White is well worth tracking down and is much more revealing and detailed than the Tertis autobiography.

Delius's single movement Violin Sonata No. 2 (1923-4) was arranged by Tertis and recorded by him in 1929. This was five years after the premiere of the original in 1924. It works extremely well - to the manner born in the hands of Roger Chase and Michiko Otaki. This is a working of singing amplitude, thoroughly curvaceous in the manner of the Delius Cello Sonata. The Second Sonata was one of the last works written before he lost his sight in 1923-4.

The Third was premiered by May Harrison and Arnold Bax in November 1930 and was arranged by Tertis two years later. It is a more discursive work than its predecessor but it's classic Delius being based on earlier sketches. The final Lento is the most moving. It positively drips the most honeyed yet poignant nostalgia - a valedictory tenderness engulfs the listener.

We move from Delius to Ireland. The masterly Cello Sonata was arranged by Tertis in 1941 seventeen years after the completion of the original. The whole thing is most lovingly done. The arrangement and the playing demonstrate a fluent accomplishment and an innate sympathy with the Ireland idiom. You need only turn to the hushed Poco largamente for compelling evidence. The Con moto finale fairly flies along - the furies and the old English spirits inhabiting the Sussex Downs drive tirelessly.

Ireland's Second Violin Sonata (1915-17) is one of the loved monuments of the British Musical Renaissance. It is lent acid tears, a certain leaping triumph and melancholy by the Great War. This treasured and treasurable work emerges from the fracas of arrangement quite unharmed, idiomatically projected and just as convincing - maybe even more so - as the version for violin and piano. The over-brimming lyricism of the finale is superbly carried off by Chase and Otaki.

The tangy and lucid essay is are by Stephen Lloyd. We hear far too little from him. These are complemented by an extended note by Roger Chase who continues to be one of the heroes of the world of British viola music.

Rob Barnett

A harvest of touchingly successful Tertis arrangements.