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Among British composer William Alwyn’s large body of work, including five symphonies, concertos for flute, oboe, violin, harp, piano, and many shorter orchestral works, there is a significant amount of chamber and instrumental music.
This disc presents six works which were composed between 1934 and 1962.
During this time, Alwyn’s style developed from the easy flowing melodies exemplified in the Oboe Sonata, Viola Sonatina (here receiving its world première recording), and Suite for Oboe and Harp to the more astringent and darker language of the Clarinet Sonata and String Trio.
Conversations, originally named Music for Three Players, comprises eight short descriptive pieces.
“Naxos continues to champion Alwyn for a burgeoning band of devotees” Gramophone
William Alwyn: Clarinet Sonata
William Alwyn: Oboe Sonata
I. Moderato e grazioso
III. Allegro (quasi valse tempo)
William Alwyn: Viola Sonatina
I. Prelude: Lento e rubato
II. Dance: Allegretto
III. Aria: Andante piacevole
IV. Finale: Allegro moderato e deciso
William Alwyn: Suite for Oboe and Harp
I. Minuet: Moderato
II. Valse Miniature: Allegro grazioso
III. Jig: Allegro molto
William Alwyn: String Trio
I. Allegro molto - Meno mosso - Allegro molto - Adagio
II. Molto vivace
III. Andante - Poco piu mosso
IV. Allegro ma non troppo - Poco piu mosso - Meno mosso, grazioso - Piu mosso - Meno mosso - Molto meno mosso - Andante espressivo
William Alwyn: Conversations
I. Prelude: Moderato a calmato
II. Romanza: Andante e tranquillo
III. Chorale: Broad and expressive but with movement
IV. Fughetta: Allegro moderato e molto ritmico
V. Arioso: Con moto e placido
VI. Carillon: Allegro commodo
VII. Intermezzo: Slow and clear
VIII. Capriccio: Allegro molto (quasi presto volante)
“Performances and recording both excel, with Sarah-Jane Bradley's viola-playing outstanding and Sophia Rahman's accompaniments a model of supportive expertise throughout.”
“The Conversations of the 1950s (a suite of eight short pieces) for clarinet, violin and piano is a particular favourite, especially as Robert Plane, Lucy Gould and Sophia Rahman play with such rapt sensitivity and allure. Sarah Francis is beguiling as ever in the enchanting Oboe and Harp Suite”
7th August 2010
“Alwyn’s chamber music bristles with piquant ideas. Every phrase has a spark, challenging its interpreters musically and technically while giving the listener a feast of gently angular lyricism...it’s the mercurial String Trio, in a performance of extraordinary vivacity and conviction from the Hermitage String Trio, that impresses most.”
Awards Issue 2010
“This collection of six works for various combinations reveals William Alwyn at his most impressive, always thoughtful in finely crafted works...Altogether a fine survey, splendidly played and recorded.”
1st August 2010
“...an interesting glimpse into William Alwyn's development from the sweet melodist of the 1930s to the bleaker, angrier man of the 1960s.”