This richly melodious event of a CD must be celebrated as much for the
performances as for the music.
The soloists here are making a name for themselves in their recordings of
rare British music. Their previous Hyperion CDs of the complete Howells and
Ireland have already attracted plaudits. They now add a further tile to the
mosaic with this Stanford collection.
The music is not especially Irish (at least not to modern ears). Its signposts
and maps are all ones associated with the high midday of the romantic era.
Schumann and Dvorák, Brahms and Beethoven give some impression of
the styles you encounter.
The playing is zestful and full of life. These performances do not at all
come over as dry-as-dust run-throughs. Every piece is a freshly conceived
event in its own right.
The second sonata which survives only in a copyists score may well have been
dedicated to Enrique Arbós who was the dedicatee of Stanford's Violin
Concerto Op. 74. Surely it cannot be long before the Violin concerto is recorded?
Paul Barritt (leader of the English Chamber Orchestra) would make an excellent
pioneer for the piece.
The scholarly but readable notes are by Jeremy Dibble who fortunately avoids
overabundant technicalities and instead gives us a vivid account of the music
and biographical context.