Madeleine Mitchell (violin), Roger Chase (viola), Andrew Ball (piano), Lucy Wilding (cello), Jeremy Huw WiIliams (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano) & John Turner (treble recorder)
Bridge String Quartet
“While there are no long-lost masterpieces here, the best of this music is more than attractive.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2007 ****
“Performances throughout reflect great credit on all concerned in their scrupulous preparation and unquenchable conviction. Sound and balance, too, give no real cause for complaint. Alwyn's growing band of admirers needn't hold back.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2007
“Having surveyed William Alwyn's orchestral output with such conspicuous success, Naxos now turns its attention to the chamber and vocal music. Just three of the eight items on this useful anthology have previously been recorded: the urgently expressive Rhapsody for piano quartet and strikingly resourceful SonataImpromptu for violin and viola were completed in 1939, the latter written for (and premiered by) Frederick Grinke and Watson Forbes, while the ravishing Three Winter Poems for string quartet date from early in 1948 and bear a dedication to Alwyn's teacher at the RAM, Sir John McEwen (who died that same year aged 80). All are well worth getting to know and display the fastidious craft and generosity of feeling that are characteristic of their creator.
Of the music new to the catalogue, the 1939 Ballade for viola and piano combines full-throated ardour and wistfulness in a manner which suggests a more than passing acquaintance with Bax's powerful Viola Sonata. The 1933 Sonatina for violin and piano wears a sunnier demeanour, and we're also treated to five exquisite settings of poetry by Trevor Blakemore (1879-1953) and the composer himself (Alwyn was an accomplished flautist and painter to boot). The disc concludes with the pithy (and witty) Chaconne for Tom (1982), part of an 80th-birthday tribute devised by recorder player John Turner for the Lancastrian composer Thomas Pitfield (1903-99).
Performances throughout reflect great credit on all concerned in their scrupulous preparation and unquenchable conviction. Sound and balance, too, give no real cause for complaint.
Alwyn's growing band of admirers needn't hold back.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010