From Brighton to Brooklyn
Works by Beach, Bridge, Britten, Coleridge-Taylor, Copland, Price and Schoenfeld
Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano)
Chandos CHAN 20248 71:29 mins
Married couple Elena Urioste (American) and Tom Poster (British) arranged this recital as a demonstration of their love for the music of each others’ country. Perhaps this idea looked cute on paper, though it would still need a stronger selection of music to bring this album anywhere near essential listening. There are certainly some attractive moments: I’d single out their treatment of Copland’s delicately bluesy Nocturne, first of his early Two Pieces, written in Paris in 1926. Frank Bridge’s Cradle Song, high-grade salon music, is also attractive, while Florence Price’s lightly humorous Elfentanz should please anyone who appreciates dancing elves.
All these pieces have simple textures, with lyricism dominant. But when textures get busier and crowded, Urioste’s violin can be hard to hear, as in parts of Paul Schoenfeld’s Four Souvenirs of 1990. At least its hectic final square dance is a winner; not so the third movement, a supine pastiche of old-time Tin Pan Alley. Elsewhere, the pair fail to make a case for the scrawny kind of grotesquerie found in Britten’s Op. 6, while Bridge’s other salon pieces, and three more by Amy Beach, are the kind of music that glides past the ears without ever penetrating. Poster’s playing, tidy and muscular, survives the selection of pieces quite well, but aside from the billowing phrases of Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade, Urioste’s usually lustrous tone and romantic soul can’t find much of an outlet in this lightweight transatlantic parade.