Delius: Complete Works for Violin & Piano

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COMPOSERS: Delius
LABELS: Meridian
WORKS: Complete Works for Violin & Piano
PERFORMER: Louise Jones (violin)Malcolm Miller (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84298/9-2 DDD
This enterprising collection ranges from the Romance of 1889 to the rhapsodic Third Sonata of 1930, first performed by May Harrison, who recorded it with, it is believed, Arnold Bax (Symposium). Her style, fashionable then, of subtle vibrato and expressive portamento, seems to penetrate successfully to the spirit of the work. This is not to diminish Jones and Miller’s technique or expressive capabilities; they capture the Romantic and bitter-sweet nature of these works splendidly. Listen, for example, to their magic in the vivo conclusion of the early Légende.

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Delius’s earliest (unnumbered) Sonata in B is Romantic and reminiscent of salon music. However, there are already distinct pointers to the mature Delius’s passionate melodic lines and chromatic and impressionistic textures, which become increasingly manifest through the First and Second Sonatas. The short, concise Second, lyrical, elegiac and jolly by turn, is particularly appealing. It is a pity that a lugubrious Hassan Serenade and an occasionally fuzzy violin tone in the slighter, shorter pieces mar what is essentially a most enjoyable release. Ian Lace