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

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

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
 

Availability
CD: Forgotten Records

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor (1951) [28:07]
Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986)
Piano Concerto in G major, Op. 85 (1956) [27:18]
Denis Matthews (piano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent
rec. 1958
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR403 [55:27]

Experience Classicsonline

Alan Rawsthorne’s Second Piano Concerto was written in answer to a commission from the Arts Council of Great Britain, and premiered in 1951 at the Festival of Britain. The first of its four movements begins with a flute melody which seems typical of English music of the period. It wanders rather, not really getting anywhere; it’s not quite a melody at all, actually, but it haunts the mind all the same. The piano assumes an accompanying role here, and indeed challenging though the solo part must be, this is not a heroic piano concerto in the romantic sense. The second movement is in contrast to the rather amiable first, a rapid scherzo with darker undertones, though the atmosphere falls far short of the malice in the corresponding movement of, say, Walton’s First Symphony. The concerto has been recorded by Peter Donohoe on Naxos, and the notes accompanying that issue contain some interesting commentary by the composer, dated 1958 and therefore perhaps written for the LP issue of the present performance. The slow movement, he writes, “… has about it that nostalgic character so much disliked by the immobile intelligentsia of today, who confuse this quality with the emotional mess of the last century.” Quite. The main theme of the finale has taken some stick over the years. It is described in one of the Penguin Guides, for example, as “cheap”, though in a later edition the word “catchy” is applied to it. The composer himself seems to have been dubious: “This tune, saved, one hopes, from complete banality by its metrical construction …”. I don’t know about “cheap”, but “catchy” it certainly is, and the composer uses it to considerable effect to bring about an entertaining close to a most satisfying work.

Rawsthorne’s concerto has been recorded a number of times in the years following the appearance of this performance, but the only other I have heard is that by Donohoe referred to above. There, the soloist’s contribution is very fine indeed, and the performance as a whole is very satisfying. But the present performance is also very fine, totally committed and convincing, with a particularly authoritative contribution from Sargent and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Where the later performance scores, of course, is in the quality of the recorded sound, and since the dryness of some of the musical ideas makes for a work which only gives up its secrets slowly, even reluctantly, there is no doubt that for a newcomer to the work, and perhaps to the composer, the later performance will be an easier entry point. For Rawsthorne enthusiasts who have not heard the Matthews performance, however, I urge you to give it a listen right away.

The Rubbra Concerto was new to me. Like the Rawsthorne it is not a heroic concerto in the Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky vein. The piano part is big and wide ranging, but the instrument is more the equal of the orchestra than its competitor. The first movement opens in sombre mood, and in the minor key, despite the work’s major key designation. The music gradually opens out – in line with its botanical title: “Corymbus” – to imposing effect, and rising to a remarkably passionate climax. The second movement is entitled “Dialogue”, but it is not at all an intense affair along the lines of the slow movement of Beethoven’s Fourth, but calm and very beautiful. I have not had access to a score, but I think this movement probably begins nearly a minute later than the tracking cue would have us believe. The finale opens with a dancing figure, and its rondo structure is easily discerned even on a first hearing. There are references to earlier themes, in particular to the opening of the concerto, before the brief flourish that ends the work. There is a certain ebullience here that may surprise those who know the composer only from his symphonies and choral works. Once again, it is a most enjoyable and satisfying piece and comes here in an outstandingly fine performance.

As is to be expected from this source, there is no presentation to speak of. The CD cover is a simple inlay card with no accompanying text at all. The back of the box carries a number of internet links, including one to some useful pages on this very site. This is not really a “forgotten record”, though, as the Rubbra performance has already been available in EMI’s British Composers series. I haven’t heard that transfer, but this one, apparently direct from the original HMV LP of 1958, seems to have been expertly managed.

William Hedley

Edmund Rubbra discography & review index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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.