Rawsthorne, Lambert

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COMPOSERS: Lambert,Rawsthorne
LABELS: Dutton
ALBUM TITLE: Rawsthorne, Lambert
WORKS: Ballade; Sonatina; Four Romantic Pieces
PERFORMER: John McCabe, Tamami Honma
CATALOGUE NO: CDLX 7167
The Lancashire-born Alan

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Rawsthorne (1905-1971) was

evidently a fine pianist, and he wrote

for the instrument throughout his

career, in two concertos, chamber

music, and a handful of solo works.

After two uncharacteristic student

pieces, his musical personality

emerged in the Four Bagatelles of

the late 1930s – clean and dry in the

manner of Hindemith, perhaps most

personal in the quietly reflective

epilogue. The wartime Theme and

Four Studies is more virtuosic; the

post-war Sonatina is surprisingly

dark in places; the Four Romantic

Pieces of 1953 explore a wider

expressive range. But everything’s on

a modest scale: the nearest thing to

a major statement is the late Ballade,

an eventful 12-minute narrative.

An advocate of Rawsthorne’s

music, John McCabe plays with

great authority and fluency, if with

rather hefty pianissimos – unless

that’s the fault of the recording, in

the reverberant Henry Wood Hall.

He and Tamami Honma add a

charming pair of duets, The Creel,

a set of miniatures inspired by Isaak

Walton’s The Compleat Angler, and

Three black pieces on the white keys

by Rawsthorne’s friend Constant

Lambert. The latter seems an unwise

choice, as its easy-going charm

highlights Rawsthorne’s buttoned-up

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neatness. Anthony Burton