Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Gig-a-Blog™ (Rupert Luck & Daniel Swain [again], St Anne & St Agnes )

Monday 15 October, 2007

Rupert Luck, violin; Daniel Swain, piano. Parry: Complete Series of Sonatas (2). Parry: Sonata in D Major; Vaughan Williams: Sonata in A Minor, Op 82.

I've already ranted elsewhere about how great these performers are so I won't treat you to it all over again. This is the second in their series of All Them Violin Sonatas What Parry Wrote, an enterprise which is already shaping up to be a truly splendid way of spending a few lunchtimes. I wonder how many more there are? (oops, cue Sinking Feeling ...)

Vaughan Williams:

  1. Fantasia, Allegro giusto. Dark, quite stern and driving, then lyrical-but-edgy, then back to quite fast, insistent. Lyrical moments again but all quite stressed. As the programme note says, it has its rural moments, but The Lark Ascending it ain't.
  2. Scherzo, Allegro furioso ma non troppo. Love that "non troppo"! To be fair, as the movement develops it turns out it's needed as a safety precaution lest the violin leave the road while cornering at high speed. This is an incredibly aggressive, in-your-face movement, and unsettling in a way I'd expect from, say, Shostakovitch. Scary stuff. Luck and Swain did a great job here.
  3. Tema con variazioni, Andante - Allegro - Tempo del preludio ma tranquillo. Wonderful plainchant-type melody. I am such a sucker for this. Just brilliant. Rupert Luck is waaay down low, pushing out oodles of tone. Obviously it can't last the whole movement (chiz) so we get a higher and more complex development of this material then move off into the fast section, before arriving at a more open, almost symphonic bit which leads to a long violin cadenza. Wonderful. Interesting how this work stays a touch, or more, brittle even when it's being (on the surface at least) somewhat more warmly melodic. This is RVW in less-cuddlesome mode.


  1. Allegro. Fiery, exciting
  2. Andante sostenuto. Gorgeous, wonderful singing tunes
  3. Presto vivacissimo. Busy, positive, life-affirming. Just as well they ended with this rather wonderful bouncerama and not the very much more edgy and troubling Vaughan Williams.

What a revelation this Parry series is. I used to think, oh yeah, Victorian church-music guy. But these sonatas show such a different side that it's quite startling. A great recital. I can’t wait for the CD.

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