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Richard FLURY (1896–1967)
Works for Violin
Sonata No. 8 in A major for Violin and Piano (1950) [16:19]
Sonata for Solo Violin in G minor (1925) [8:02]
Sonata No. 11 in A major for Violin and Piano (1961) [20:49]
Concerto No. 4 in A minor for Violin and Orchestra (1965) [21:54]
Urs Joseph Flury (violin)
Gérard Wyss (piano)
Eugen Huber (piano)
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana / Bruno Amaducci
rec. 1970-75, Radio Lugano; Konzertsaal Solothurn
VDE-GALLO CD-1624 [67:26]

Richard Flury was a violinist himself, so it’s hardly surprising that the instrument features significantly in his compositional output, with 4 violin concertos, 11 sonatas, 2 suites and many small pieces for violin and piano, as well as a sonata and 10 caprices for solo violin. His music leans towards Late Romanticism, and never strays beyond the boundaries of tonality. Yet, his music is harmonically rich and rhythmically imaginative. Most of his life was devoted to teaching, and this may explain why his music has never gained the acclaim it truly deserves.

The Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 8 in A Major dates from 1950, and bears a dedication to Rosette Mengi-Schaad, a former pupil and friend. It’s a sunny work throughout all four movements. It opens carefree and relaxed. The slow movement is tender and dreamy. A sprightly and capricious scherzo precedes a finale which is dance- like. The Sonata No. 11 is also in the key of A major and was written for his son Urs Joseph on his 20th birthday. The first movement begins with a Schumannesque melody over a rippling piano accompaniment. A wistful Barcarole comes next. This is followed by a spirited Scherzo, then a witty syncopated Polka with a Slavic flavour. I find the last movement the least inspired. It’s worth pointing out that the composer originally intended replacing the third movement Scherzo with the Polka. He decided finally to publish both movements providing a choice for the performer. Thankfully both movements are included here.

The earliest work is the Solo Sonata in G minor of 1925. This recording, made fifty years later, is its first outing. In four movements, it offers firm proof of the composer’s adept skill at writing for the instrument. A highly inventive score, it reminds me of the Six Solo Sonatas of Eugène Ysaÿe, though it’s highly unlikely Flury would have been acquainted with these. Urs Joseph Flury performs it with great flair and virtuosic prowess.

The Violin Concerto No. 4 in A Minor was penned in 1965 and dedicated to his wife Rita on her 30th birthday. Two animated outer movements frame a central Andante sostenuto. This is certainly the emotional heart of the work, and you won’t fail to be won over by the outpouring of captivating lyricism, which is both memorable and heartwarming. The conductor Bruno Amaducci is alive to every nuance and inflection of the ardent solo line. If Flury’s other concertos are as fine as this one, I’d love to hear them.

The violinist in all the performances is Urs Joseph Flury, the composer’s son. Although this is a new release, the recordings date back to the early to mid-seventies. They sound incredibly fine for their age, and they’re certainly worth exploring.

Stephen Greenbank

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