PITFIELD • CAR­WITHEN

BBC Music Magazine - - CHAMBER -

Vi­olin Sonatas; plus CW Orr: Min­uet; R Orr: Ser­e­nade for String Trio; Scott: Son­nets; Delius: Le­gende; Young: Pas­sacaglia; Ire­land: Berceuse; L Berke­ley: El­egy Fenella Humphreys (vi­olin);

Nathan Wil­liamson (pi­ano)

Lyrita SRCD.359 75:34 mins

Lyrita’s on­go­ing se­ries of English­mu­sic record­ings has al­ways fea­tured an ac­com­plished level of per­for­mance. This re­lease in­volves some­thing rather more than that; it’s truly worth hear­ing for Fenella Humphreys’s vi­olin play­ing in its own right, which of­fers an ex­cep­tional blend of en­gag­ing per­son­al­ity, bombproof tun­ing, and so­phis­ti­cated tonal love­li­ness with­out a trace of nar­cis­sism that might de­tract. In the same way Nathan Wil­liamson’s ac­com­pa­ni­ments dis­play state-ofthe-art sup­ple­ness and flu­ency, plus a de­gree of alert­ness that ban­ishes any sense of the rou­tine.

As usual with this kind of mixed­bag pro­gram­ming, some items have more sub­stance and in­di­vid­u­al­ity than oth­ers, but there are no duds, and the strong­est works are strong in­deed. The Vi­olin Sonata by the young Doreen Car­withen op­er­ates in terms of the stan­dard English­tonal ter­ri­tory of its early-1950s vin­tage; it also has a sweep and scale in­di­cat­ing a far more strik­ing cre­ative per­son­al­ity than that of many of her more prom­i­nent col­leagues. The other work that stands clear of the pack is Cyril Scott’s Two Son­nets, pub­lished in 1914, and re­spond­ing with sub­tle aware­ness to the more ad­vanced de­vel­op­ments of that heady mu­si­cal era: the first Son­net, with its gen­tly but in­sis­tently chromatic ac­com­pa­ny­ing se­quence of sixths, re­lates to Scriabin’s id­iom in a way that English mu­sic of that vin­tage gen­er­ally did not. Delius pun­dits will be in­ter­ested, too, in his at­trac­tive and char­ac­ter­is­tic Lé­gende – known

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