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Violin Sonatas by Bliss, Walford Davies & Bowen - EM Records

Sir Arthur Bliss: Sonata for Piano and Violin (World Premiére recording)

 

Sir Henry Walford Davies: Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano (World Premiére recording)

 

York Bowen: Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 112

 

Rupert Luck (Violin); Matthew Rickard (Piano)

 

EM RECORDS (EMR CD001)

 

EM Records is the recording arm of the English Music Festival.

Chosen as one of MusicWeb International’s “RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2011”

The present disc opens with the impassioned single movement Bliss violin sonata. This is a red-blooded piece of writing and it remains a mystery why Bliss withheld it. ...

 
The Walford Davies Sonata in A major is one of three that Rupert Luck has been invited to edit for the RCM. ... Luck and Rickard hold nothing back and this is a highly emotional piece of writing which etches its way into the memory on first hearing. ...
 
The Bowen is romantic and stormily Tchaikovskian with the torrential tendencies of a Rachmaninov and the expressionist mien of Szymanowski; the latter especially in the middle movement. It’s a heatedly volatile mix that flares, smoulders, smokes, swoons and blazes. ... The Bowen is a very fine, moving and exciting work – no half measures! The performance is fiery to the point of molten. Breath-taking stuff! ...
 

There is nothing tentative about these performances which are highly skilled and completely dedicated and immersed. ...
 

EM records have started out magnificently with this disc. We must hope to hear much more of Luck and Rickard. Let them continue to explore and harry the periphery rather than being drawn to the well-served ‘great and good’.

Rob Barnett

 

Please click here to read this review in full on the MusicWeb International website

Review of recording by MusicWeb International

Review of recording by Classicalsource.com

A warm welcome for the first release in the English Music Festival’s recording label, EM Records. Three violin sonatas kick-start this welcome enterprise, Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard securing persuasive renditions of pieces by Arthur Bliss, Henry Walford Davies and York Bowen. ...

 

With fine and committed performances, and a full and well-balanced recording, this release is a good start to a label that will hopefully run and run and indeed capture “The Spirit of England”.

Colin Anderson

Please click here to read this review in full on the classicalsource.com website

“This fine disc is a complete success and can be very warmly recommended to anyone with a serious interest in British music”

International Record Review

Review of recording by International Record Review

This is a most imaginative and rewarding release: the world première recording of a significant unpublished work by Bliss, along with violin and piano sonatas by Walford Davies (another première recording) and York Bowen. ... The performance by Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard has an inspiring confidence and commitment that characterizes their approach throughout. ...

 

The most recent work here, first published in 1946, is York Bowen¹s E minor Sonata, a sweeping, ardent and exciting piece that will appeal to anyone familiar with Bowen¹s other chamber music: fiercely dramatic at times, making virtuoso demands on both players, it is most exciting.

 

This first release from the English Music Festival label deserves the warmest possible welcome. ... Luck and Rickard offer an ideal combination of enterprising programming, some impressive musical archaeology to bring these works to life, and superb playing. This fine disc is a complete success and can be very warmly recommended to anyone with a serious interest in British music.

Nigel Simeone  

Review of recording by MusicWeb International

Review of recording by MusicWeb International

Luck and Rickard make a strong case for the piece [the Walford Davies] and I enjoyed both the music and their performance very much. ...

 

The finale [of the Bowen] is a bravura, often fiery creation, which is tossed off with fine virtuosity by these two players.

This is an outstanding disc. Rob Barnett beat me to it in designating it as a Recording of the Month but my welcome for it is no less strong. Both Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard are fully on top of and responsive to this music and their performances are not only skilful and very musical but also full of commitment. I sense they are delighting in unveiling to a wide audience this unknown repertoire – certainly the description ‘unknown’ applies to the Bliss and Walford Davies works. The performances have been splendidly recorded in the sympathetic acoustic of the Wyastone Concert Hall and the documentation is excellent.

This release is a most auspicious launch for EM Records and I look forward eagerly to future releases. In the meantime I hope collectors of English music will reward the enterprise of the label and enrich their own experience by hastening to add this CD to their collections.

John Quinn

Please click here to read this review in full on the MusicWeb International website

«««« BBC Music Magazine

 

Please click here to purchase directly from EM Records

Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard catch the heroic rising arpeggios [of the Bowen] well, that arresting call to arms that propels the sonata on its way. So too they deal justly with the ‘languido’ qualities of the central slow movement. Theirs is a very likable and attractive performance ...

A most enjoyable disc.

Jonathan Woolf

Please click here to read this review in full on the MusicWeb International website