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English Violin Sonatas

Bantock Sonata for Violin and Piano No 3 - Dunhill Sonata for Violin and Piano,Op. 50 - Stanford Sonata for Violin and Piano No 1,Op. 11 Susanne Stanzeleit vn Gusztáv Fenyö pf
Fricker Sonata for Violin and Piano No 1,Op. 12 - Sonata for Violin and Piano No 2,Op. 94 - Rawsthorne Sonata for Violin and Piano - Vaughan Williams Sonata for Violin and Piano
Susanne Stanzeleit vn Julian Jacobson pf

Regis Portraits PCL2105

This is a wholly welcome re-issue on a Regis Portraits Classic twofer of two invaluable Cala CDs from the mid-'90s. There are two pianists partnering Susanne Stanzeleit but the new jewel case and its insert booklet (notes by Richard Whitehouse) give us no information as to who plays which; that omission compounded by the unforgivable sin of giving the pianists' names in small print, which is quite unacceptable for duo sonatas.

I heard the Dunhill first and liked it a lot; by coincidence, on the morning after Peter Sheppard Skærved (at a London concert premiering Thomas Simaku's string quartets) had ridiculed Thomas Dunhill for having castigated Grieg's quartet in his book Chamber Music: A Treatise for Students (1913).

Rather than my writing a detailed review here, I would prefer that you looked up Andrew Achenbach's comprehensive appreciation in Gramophone of what he considered outstanding recordings - most enterprising, generously full and admirably performed compilations: http://www.gramophone.co.uk/gramofilereview.asp?reviewID=9607060&mediaID=7081&issue=Reviewed%3A+Gramophone+7%2F1996

I enjoyed the Dunhill, which Achenbach describes as 'fluent and engaging, an impeccably crafted, highly mellifluous affair, featuring a central Adagio lamentoso of no mean depth and grave nobility'. Both the Bantock sonata here (1940) & Stanford's amiable earier one (1880) would also be good to hear occasionally in violin recitals. On the second disc, partnered by Julian Jacobson, I preferred the second of Fricker's sonatas (1987), from his later life in USA, but the work which really deserves to be in the regular repertoire is Vaughan-Williams' of 1954, which brings to mind his more powerful symphonies, Nos. 4 & 6, before returning to his meditative pastoral manner in the concluding Theme & Variations.

Peter Grahame Woolf