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Hyperion Records

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Invisible Cities by Lisel Ashlock
Track(s) taken from CDA67963
Recording details: February 2012
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Phil Rowlands
Release date: September 2013
Total duration: 21 minutes 51 seconds

'Hanslip and Tchetuev are impressive as interpreters: his fine touch and beautifully balanced chordal playing is matched by her lovely tone and phrasing—her singing legato lines are an especial delight' (Gramophone)

'Chloë Hanslip and Igor Tchetuev certainly have the measure of these voluble and passionate yet always disciplined works, turning in performances of the first rank. The bubbling rhythmic liveliness of Hanslip's playing in the fast movements never compromises beauty of tone. There are several other recordings of the First Sonata … this is a very competitive new recording of both' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The voice that comes through in these two violin sonatas is one of individuality, creative ingenuity, rhythmic cunning and ear-catching harmonic resource' (The Daily Telegraph)

'A performance in a thousand … Hanslip impresses by her sheer involvement in the music, and also through the different colours, intensities, vibratos and dynamics that she produces, so perfectly judged as not to be questioned … together they make the strongest possible case for a great piece that has knocked me sideways' (International Record Review)

'Along the way, both sonatas generate a host of elegant ideas and an agreeable sense of discourse, which Hanslip and Tchetuev portray with verve' (Financial Times)

Violin Sonata No 1 in B minor, Op 21
first performed (incomplete) in 1910; dedicated to Anna Bratenschi

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Like many of Medtner’s works, the Violin Sonata No 1 in B minor germinated gradually from ideas sketched years earlier. Its first two movements (the former adorned with one of its composer’s more exotic Italian injunctions: canterellando means ‘humming’) were heard on their own in 1910, Medtner having failed to complete a finale. The work opens with a restrained barcarolle-like rhythm. Characteristically, it demonstrates a willingness to keep its primary ideas perpetually in view while modifying them so that they take on more tangential tonalities and harmonic colourings. Intriguingly, its air of elusive understatement suggests an affinity to a composer with whom Medtner is seldom compared, Gabriel Fauré. Indeed, the end of this movement is loosely reminiscent of a mélodie from Fauré’s opus 23, Les berceaux.

The G major Danza typifies two of Medtner’s salient idiosyncrasies: in its first section, the habit of repeating a pithy idea whose length is at odds with that of the bar, so that immediate (in this case, whimsical) tension and disjunction arise between actual and expected accentuation; and, in the rapid ensuing section, a predilection for groupings of three quavers in contradiction to the prevailing crotchet pulse. Here, the pattern is generally arranged as 3+3+2, thus ‘correcting’ matters at prescribed intervals. In many works, however, Medtner happily let the threes prevail for longer stretches, creating anarchic and dramatic conflicts between the ostensible rhythmic ‘vessel’ and what was poured into it. The movement ends with a brief reprise of both sections in turn.

Beginning with imposing bell effects, the B major Ditirambo admits more wistfulness than either its title (denoting a classical dance or hymn in honour of Dionysus) or its direction Festivamente might imply, and shows the composer’s fondness for synthesizing earlier material as well as introducing new, to create a satisfying escalation of both craft and rhetoric. Rhythmic sleights-of-hand from the preceding movements surface periodically in ‘augmented’ form, their note-lengths doubled to suggest progressive broadening towards some grand peroration. However, the Sonata ends quietly, in a fashion echoed many years later at the conclusion of Medtner’s final piano sonata, the Sonate-Idylle.

from notes by Francis Pott © 2013

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