English Music for Viola & Piano - works by Bainton, Holland, Bowen, Bantock / Sarah-Jane Bradley, viola; Christian Wilson, piano

Audio Samples

>Bainton, Edgar Leslie : Sonata for Viola
>Holland, Theodore : Suite in D for viola & piano
>Bowen, York : Piece for viola in E flat major
>Bantock, Granville : Sonata in F major 'Colleen', for viola & piano

Album Summary

>Bainton, Edgar Leslie : Sonata for Viola
>Holland, Theodore : Suite in D for viola & piano
>Bowen, York : Piece for viola in E flat major
>Bantock, Granville : Sonata in F major 'Colleen', for viola & piano
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The four English composers represented on this disc were all born within a generation, and were inspired by the pioneering violist Lionel Tertis. Bainton's 1922 Viola Sonata veers restlessly between autumnal song and militaristic intensity, possibly influenced by his wartime experiences. Theodore Holland's Suite in D is a theatrical, wide-ranging work full of ingenious themes, whilst York Bowen's Piece for Viola is brief but ardent. Bantock's Viola Sonata, by contrast, is a large-scale, powerful and rhapsodic statement full of profuse lyricism and romantic feeling. Since making her concerto debut with the Philharmonia in 1992, and as a recitalist at the Wigmore Hall in 1997, Sarah-Jane Bradley has established a distinguished international reputation as a soloist and chamber musician. She is a pioneer of new works and has given the premières and recorded a number of new concertos for solo viola.

The Observer, August 2012
No viola jokes, please - this is a seriously good recording. Sarah-Jane Bradley lends her lustrous tone and superb musicianship to works written by English composers all born within a generation of one another...Wilson's alert and sensitive pianism is particularly evident in Bantock's folk-themed Sonata in F. He and Bradley make a terrific partnership.

American Record Guide, November/December 2012
I cannot speak highly enough about Bradley and Wilson. These are two highly intelligent masters of their instruments who deeply feel the music at hand and respond with gorgeous playing. The engineers serve them up as equal partners and give the piano full tone from treble to rich bass. The liner notes are superb, giving a brief biography of each composer and then an analysis of each work that is concise and illuminating.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2012
Sarah-Jane Bradley's viola has a singing quality beautifully suited to this essentially ruminative, lyrical repertoire and Christian Wilson's role as accompanist is most sensitively judged in allowing the plaintive viola to express its full range of plangent gestures.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Henry Wood Hall, London (11/10/2011-11/11/2011).



Reviews

Warm, satisfying music from England
This recording features music by four English composers all born within a generation of each other. Each has a different way of telling their story, in some cases greatly influenced by their life experiences (yes, this seems like an obvious statement, but you can really hear some of the strife and longing from his wartime experiences as a POW in Germany from 1914-1918 in the Bainton piece).

The first piece is by Edgar Bainton, and the work itself has a distinct Cesar Franck feel to it, particularly the first movement, which features a very interesting almost solo piano interval that really generates a sense of isolation. The second movement starts longingly and warmly, giving way to a more emotionally complicated but uplifting third movement.

The second piece is Holland’s Suite in D for Viola and Piano, which begins with some very energetic music and develops into what is initially a gently but intense conversation between the two instruments, growing every more reflective and painfully reminiscent in the second movement, the end section of which uses the viola’s natural warm range to give us somber melodies supported by deep chords and runs from the piano’s lower register. The finale brings the piece to a very satisfying and complete close.

Next is a very short and soul-searching piece from York Bowen that, according to the well written liner notes, remains unpublished. This would be a wonderful work to hear in person, so here’s hoping that someone publishes it!

The last work on this disc is by Granville Bantock and is sub-titled “Colleen”. The themes in the work have some relationships to various Irish themes, but the work as a whole is evocative, pleasantly satisfying in a deeply healing way (particularly the second movement), finishing with a rollicking obviously Celtic-influenced Vivace – hard not to tap your foot to it, and leaves the listener feeling pretty darn good.

This disc is a very satisfying musical experience. Sarah-Jane Bradley’s viola is comforting and expressive, and Christian Wilson’s piano is a very well-balanced companion in each of the works. I enjoyed this recording very much. Recommended.

Submitted on 09/10/12 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Bainton, Edgar Leslie : Sonata for Viola
  • Performers: Christian Wilson (Piano); Sarah-Jane Bradley (Viola)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (11/10/2011-11/11/2011)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1922

>Holland, Theodore : Suite in D for viola & piano
  • Performers: Christian Wilson (Piano); Sarah-Jane Bradley (Viola)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (11/10/2011-11/11/2011)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Bowen, York : Piece for viola in E flat major
  • Performer: Sarah-Jane Bradley (Viola)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (11/10/2011-11/11/2011)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Bantock, Granville : Sonata in F major 'Colleen', for viola & piano
  • Performers: Sarah-Jane Bradley (Viola); Christian Wilson (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (11/10/2011-11/11/2011)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1919