WORKS: Summer’s Last Will And Testament; Nocturne; Sonata
PERFORMER: Anthony Goldstone (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9382 DDD
Holst’s piano music represents a small part of his total output and consists of a few early pieces in salon style, several later ones based on Northumbrian folk music and the Nocturne and Jig he wrote for his daughter Imogen towards the end of his life. They’re pleasant enough, undemanding to the ear and, frankly, of little more than passing interest.
While Holst’s inspiration often came from folksong, Lambert’s was drawn from jazz, and his Piano Sonata is by far the most substantial and rewarding work on this disc. He wrote it in 1928/29, at around the time of The Rio Grande, and it shares the jazzy idiom of that once popular piece, especially in parts of the first movement and in the allegro central section of the basically lento e lugubre Nocturne. As the booklet note points out, Lambert reused the introductory bars to the finale (again marked lugubre) in his choral masterpiece Summer’s Last Will and Testament, and the Sonata as a whole polarises his depressive and extrovert moods. It’s a difficult work to make convincing, but Goldstone draws its disparate elements together as well as most – and he’s splendid in the Elegiac Blues. Wadham Sutton