Hurlstone, Turnbull, Goossens

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COMPOSERS: Goossens,Hurlstone,Turnbull
LABELS: Somm Céleste
WORKS: Violin Sonata in D minor; Violin Sonata in E minor; Violin Sonata No. 1 in E minor
PERFORMER: Madeleine Mitchell (violin)Andrew Ball (piano)
At the Royal College of Music in the late 1890s, William Hurlstone stood out among a group of Stanford’s students along with Holst, Vaughan Williams and Ireland. Nearly 30 years later, Percy Turnbull, a student of all those three, shone brightly in a College generation which included Maconchy, Rubbra and Tippett. The violin sonatas which both wrote during their student years show why, being well-crafted pieces in conservative idioms – though with enough striking ideas to make one wonder what Hurlstone could have achieved if he had not died young, or Turnbull if he had stuck more tenaciously to composition. As for Eugene Goossens, he was far from a favourite of Stanford at the RCM in the 1910s, because of his dangerous interest in the ultra-modernist Strauss and Debussy. But a more obvious influence on his big, Romantic First Sonata of 1918 is Delius, especially in the slow movement when he harmonises a Hampshire folksong with a succession of luscious chromatic chords. All three sonatas are given refined, sympathetic performances by Madeleine Mitchell and Andrew Ball, both RCM professors themselves – though the recording imparts a rather tubby sound to the piano, and seems to prevent the violin from reaching a really full fortissimo. Anthony Burton