One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Francis POTT (b.1957)
Sonata for Viola and Piano, Tooryn Vannin (The Towers of Man) (2013) [30:03]
Einzige Tage, Nine settings of poems by Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak (2010) [43:03]
Yuko Inoue (viola), Francis Pott (piano)
Alla Kravchuk (soprano), Simon Phillips (piano)
rec. 2014, Auditorium, Anniversary Hall, St Catherine’s School, Bramley, Surrey
EM RECORDS EMRCD028 [73:06]

When it comes to the music of Francis Pott, I must admit to not knowing that much. What I do know tends to be religious in nature: the wonderful, and mammoth, organ work Christus (SIGCD062), his much lauded oratorio The Cloud of Unknowing (SIGCD105), and a few anthems. I have enjoyed hearing all of these. So it was with eager anticipation that I received this new disc, setting down as it does two purely secular works. I was not disappointed, with both offering different kinds of listening pleasure.

The Viola Sonata Tooryn Vannin, is instantly rewarding. It was inspired by Pott’s visit to the Isle of Man Festival in 2009, where his Cello Sonata was being performed. It is a deeply romantic work, one which places Pott firmly in the pantheon of the great British chamber music composers of the twentieth century. Jeremy Summerly, in his booklet notes to Pott’s Amore langueo (CDA67575), points to his music having “... more in common with the music of Arnold Bax and E.J. Moeran than with Vaughan Williams” and although he was discussing a choral work I think the same can be said here too. It is a strong, persuasive and deeply rhythmic tonal work which anyone interested in the music of Bax and those that followed him will enjoy. Each movement has a lot to offer the listener, but for me it is the final movement, the only one without a subtitle, which is the real winner. Inspired by a walk in the south-west of the isle, to the point opposite the Calf of Man, it brings together themes from the first two movements. These are developed along with new material into a wonderful final outpouring.

When it came to Einzige Tage, I found that this collection of nine songs, sung in German translations from the original Russian, did not make the instant impact the Sonata had. However, after listening to it again I came to enjoy the work just as much, if not more than, the Viola Sonata. The collection is well balanced with romantic settings juxtaposed with more modern-sounding songs. Just listen to Juli, the longest of all the songs in the cycle. Although this has a progressive opening, by the time it gets to its vocalise sections which are backed up by some deft piano writing, you are hooked. The work takes its title from the eighth song in the cycle, a setting of Boris Pasternak’s Unique Days, which is a highlight of the set. It is a song which would fit well into the great Romantic Lied tradition. Give this cycle time and you will come to love it; I know I have.

The performances are excellent, Yuko Inoue had long wished that Pott would compose a sonata for her, and she is beautifully toned in this recording with the composer playing the piano. Einzige Tage was commissioned by the wife of Simon Phillips as a fiftieth birthday present for her husband and for one of his usual collaborators, Alla Kravchuk, to perform in concert. Here they give it a peerless performance. The recorded sound is excellent for both works and the booklet notes by the composer himself are similarly fine.

Stuart Sillitoe

Track details
Sonata

Milner’s Tower: Con moto appassionato [9:12]
Corrin’s Lament: Andante poco lento [12:18]
Vivo, animato [8:33]

Einzige Tage
Wellen [3:47]
Die Musik [3:30]
Hochzeit [6:03]
Wind [3:26]
Abschied [3:27]
Juli [8:09]
König Grauauge [5:55]
Einzige Tage [3:56]
Finsterer Traum [4:50]

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger