COMPOSERS: L Berkeley,Rawsthorne,Tippett & Britten,Walton
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Lion in the Lute
WORKS: Works by Walton, Rawsthorne, LBerkeley, Tippett & Britten
PERFORMER: Anders Miolin (ten-stringed guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-926
This highly polished recital includes the best of 20th-century British music for the guitar, mostly inspired by the artistry of the great Julian Bream. The Five Bagatelles explode the popular myth that Walton’s powers diminished in his final years. In making the sequence feel more than the sum of its parts, and aided by the typically clear and atmospheric BIS recording, Miolin shows the mastery of Walton’s later style. Rawsthorne’s Elegy was commissioned (and in the event, completed) by Julian Bream; here Miolin plays with an intense concentration, capturing the music’s tragic mood.
This contrasts with the more polished manner of Lennox Berkeley’s Sonatina and Theme and Variations, where particular emphasis is given to the composer’s subtle melodic gift. Tippett’s The Blue Guitar, the three-movement Sonata he completed in 1983, is a searching piece, and this performance has both eloquence and attention to detail. Britten’s Nocturnal after Dowland shows an extraordinary understanding, both of the instrument and the earlier master. The 11 short sections cover a wide variety of moods; yet Miolin proves that they also maintain an essential unity. When the original Dowland tune, ‘Come, heavy sleep’, is heard at the close, the effect proves most satisfying. Terry Barfoot