Violin Sonata in E minor; Sonata for Two Violins, Prelude for Cello and Piano; Piano Trio in D
Resonus RES10296 66:27 mins
The members of the Fidelio Trio clearly do not see Moeran’s music as a pale reflection of Vaughan Williams or Ireland. From the first bars of the Violin Sonata, it’s clear that they are right inside the idiom, with an emotional freedom that allows the lyrical character full rein. You could wish for even lusher tone from violinist Darragh Morgan at times, in the most passionate moments of the first movement in particular, but the Lento’s contemplative mood and the the finale’s dance-like character are strongly projected.
Moeran’s style isn’t quite as effective when he’s deprived of a firm harmonic underpinning: the Sonata for Two Violins sometimes struggles to make a coherent impression, which the wide spacing of the soloists in the recording doesn’t help. But there is variety of mood and melodic material, and the skittering central Presto is nicely paced by Morgan and Sweeney, before the folk-inflected counterpoint of the final ‘Passacaglia’.
The understated fervour of the Prelude shows off the chemistry between Tim Gill and pianist Mary Dullea, and makes a good introduction to the Trio, the most substantial work on the disc. Again the folksy and the ecstatic are in a fine balance, and the textural and rhythmic aspects have a cumulative effect, with the players pacing and balancing the intertwining melodies with affection, finding the pulse of the dance in the third movement, and the melancholy which often lurks just below the surface.