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
“...an interesting glimpse into William Alwyn's development from the sweet melodist of the 1930s to the bleaker, angrier man of the 1960s.” The Observer, 1st 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.” Financial Times, 7th August 2010 *****
“Performances and recording both excel, with Sarah-Jane Bradley's viola-playing outstanding and Sophia Rahman's accompaniments a model of supportive expertise throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2010 ****
“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” Classic FM Magazine, November 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.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010