Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18 (TrV 151) (1887) [28:51]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Violin Sonata in B minor, P 110 (1917) [25:54]
Sei pezzi, P 31 (1901-05) (Melodia [3:47]; Valse caressante [4:17]; Serenata [2:58])
Tasmin Little (violin); Piers Lane (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, 9-11 May 2012
CHANDOS CHAN 10749 [65:50]
Chandos downloads may be obtained from the ClassicalShop
Chandos have prided themselves on having a deep and long-term available back catalogue. Though distantly separated in time the present CD can be seen as an adjunct to two of the grand Chandos series of the 1980s and 1990s. The first was the Respighi orchestral music edition built around the Edward Downes BBCPO symphonies and concertos but supplemented by earlier discs conducted by Geoffrey Simon - still truly splendid - and later ones from Hickox and Noseda. The Downes and Simon discs would shine anew if issued in a box or boxes. The second comprised the half dozen discs they issued in the 1980s golden days of Järvi conducting the then SNO in the major orchestral works of Richard Strauss.
These two violin and piano works have previously appeared - although separately - on Chandos. There were in fact two CDs of the Strauss Sonata – one from Lydia Mordkovitch and the other from Sasha Rozhdestvensky. It comes as no surprise that the Respighi was also recorded by Mordkovitch. She contributed so much to the label that I have every reason to expect that, one of these days, there will be a complete Mordkovitch Chandos Edition. It’s certainly deserved – at least as much as a Takako Nishizaki edition for Naxos.
Little and Lane’s Strauss Sonata is flooded with melodic light and surges and muses with all the eruptive and serenading romance of the same composer’s Don Juan. Both Tasmin Little and Piers Lane are obviously up for it and flatter the 1887 Strauss with a most inward reading which makes it appear a greater work than perhaps it is. The stormy romance of the outer movements of the 1917 Respighi Sonata is emphasised by the utterly peaceful and romantically centred Sargasso calm of the Andante second movement. It stands head and shoulders above the other sonata movements on this disc, masterfully treading that febrile line between poetry and self-conscious sentimentality. Both Little and Lane have every right to be proud of their achievement here. Speaking of that mood we have three movements from the salon-destined and designed Sei Pezzi. I lament that the other three Kreislerian movements were not included – there was space. A puzzling and regretted omission.
With thanks to Chandos for commissioning a liner-note from the inspired Jessica Duchen. Such a fine writer and one whose Korngold book (Phaidon Press) has been unjustly eclipsed by the ‘major definitive biography’. The Duchen is much more than a valid alternative. Indeed, Korngold is a far from irrelevant comparison in the company of the two composers so nobly represented on this disc.
Flooded with melodic light … surging with eruptive romance.