By Marika Lombardi and Nathalie Dang. By Herbert Howells (1892-1983), Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), and York Bowen (1884-1961). Classical. CD. Naxos #BRI95435. Published by Naxos (NX.BRI95435).
Item Number: NX.BRI95435
The ancient, pastoral origins of the oboe as a shepherd's pipe struck a chord with many British composers of the mid-20th century. Landscape and the evocation of a place, a sense of home, has been a central element to English music for more than a century, and these four composers reflect those concerns through the prism of an instrument connecting them, and us, back to nature and to an idealised rustic past. A gentle, almost Minimalist opening to Edmund Rubbra's Sonata opens out to a characteristically long-limbed and reflective melody. At its heart lies a brief but affecting elegy. York Bowen is another composer overshadowed until recently by the likes of Vaughan Williams and Britten, but he was praised by Saint-Saens in 1903 as 'the most remarkable of the young British composers' and compared to Rachmaninov as both a pianist of formidable gifts and in his virtuosic writing for the instrument. Meanwhile, the sonata by Herbert Howells is a wartime work, unperformed at the time by its dedicatee, Leon Goossens, and only receiving its premiere in 1984. The most substantial work on the album, the sonata's moods reflect their troubled times, not least in refuge from them. Marika Lombardi formed her duo with the French pianist Natalie Dang in 2003. They have since toured Europe together, while also pursuing successful careers as both soloists and teachers.