Henze: Royal Winter Music: Sonata 1; Sonata 2

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Henze
LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm
WORKS: Royal Winter Music: Sonata 1; Sonata 2
PERFORMER: Reinbert Evers (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG L 3110
Henze wrote his two Sonatas on Shakespearian characters for Julian Bream in 1976 and 1979. But it was Reinbert Evers who apparently arranged, and gave the premiere of, the Second Sonata. It is therefore appropriate that this second available recording of the work, made in 1983, comes from him. (The first was by Dietmar Kres on Wergo.)

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The music has great eloquence and the ‘flavour’ of each piece is spot on. In the First Sonata, for instance, Ariel’s flightiness is magically contrasted with his fancifully appealing musings; Ophelia, in less than three minutes, gently sings of sad love before the water envelops her. In the Second Sonata, ‘mad’ Lady Macbeth rages and fumes in distractedly fragmented, obsessive and deliberate gesture, while the movement entitled Sir Andrew Aguecheek is slow, funereal and Habanera-like, capturing simultaneously and brilliantly the tragic and comic sides of his nature. Stephen Pettitt