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Clare Howick & Simon Callaghan: British Violin Sonatas

By Clare Howick

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By Clare Howick and Simon Callaghan. By Alan Rawsthorne, Gordon Jacob (1895-1986), William Walton (1902-1983), Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989), William Alwyn (1905-1985), and Kenneth Leighton (1921-1988). Classical. CD. Naxos #SOMMCD 0610. Published by Naxos (NX.SOMMCD-0610).

Item Number: NX.SOMMCD-0610

SOMM Recordings pays tribute to the remarkable flourishing of British Violin Sonatas in the 20th century with a collection of music for violin and piano by six key figures of the modern chamber music renaissance in Britain. Making her debut on SOMM, violinist Clare Howick's championing of this repertoire prompted iClassical to declare "the record-buying public owe [her] a debt of gratitude". She is accompanied by pianist Simon Callaghan. From the middle of the century, and commissioned for Yehudi Menuhin, William Walton's Violin Sonata is unique in the composer's oeuvre with its almost constant sense of nervous uncertainty. Composed the same year (1948), Kenneth Leighton's youthful First Violin Sonata is the product, as Robert Matthew-Walker comments in his authoritative booklet notes, of "a deep-thinking musician of whom everything he was to write, from his earliest compositions onwards, is genuinely felt and unaffectedly original". William Alwyn's beautifully proportioned Sonatina (1933) receives only its second appearance on album here. Composed the following year, Alan Rawsthorne's Pierrette: Valse Caprice is best remembered from its quotation in the composer's soundtrack for the 1947 film Uncle Silas. The contrasted Elegy and Toccata from Lennox Berkeley's 1951 Op.33 reveal a master craftsman in miniature, while three pieces by Gordon Jacob - Little Dancer (1959), Caprice (1969) and Elegy (1972) - all make their first appearances on album here. Somm gratefully acknowledges the support of the William Alwyn Foundation, the Lennox Berkeley Society, the Delius Trust, the Rawsthorne Trust and the RVW Trust in making this recording.

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