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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55071
Recording details: December 1984
Seldon Hall, Haberdashers' Aske's School, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Mike Clements
Release date: August 1988
Total duration: 8 minutes 4 seconds

'The Nash’s superb 1984 set of Malcolm Arnold’s chamber music makes a welcome return. The wide stereo spread of the quintets … enhances the sense of being in the room with the musicians’ (BBC Music Magazine)

'The playing of the various members of the Nash Ensemble is impeccable, as indeed is the recording' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'Reveals Arnold at his most inventive: tuneful, witty and ingenious … The performances by the individual members of the Nash are impeccable. This set may one day be equalled but it is unlikely to be bettered, and it deserves classic status' (International Record Review)

‘An entertaining, at times compelling portrait of a British composer whose true measure we’re only just beginning to gauge' (Classic FM Magazine)

Five Pieces for violin and piano, Op 84
composer

Prelude  [1'45]
Aubade  [1'04]
Waltz  [1'31]
Ballad  [2'26]
Moto perpetuo  [1'18]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Five Pieces were written in 1964 for Yehudi Menuhin to play as encores on an American tour, and reflect both his musical character and the breadth of his musical interests. The ‘Prelude’ opens flamboyantly with a fine violinistic flourish rising from the G string to the heights, while the piano supplies a vigorous counter-theme. The violin meditates briefly on the lyrical potential of the opening figure before the twinned themes return. The ‘Aubade’, unlike most of its dreamy species, is a light-footed scherzo freely based on an Indian raga and characterized by flattened second and raised fourth degrees. There is a touch of parody in the tiny ‘Waltz’ with its neatly turned gestures, soulful chromaticisms and deux temps rhythms, but none in the ‘Ballad’: a sustained and expressive violin melody repeated note-for-note over plain and expectable syncopated harmonies (the tune itself is not really so simple—note the minor-third internal echoes and the unusual six-plus-eight bar structure). The last piece pays tribute to the art of Charlie Parker—not with the unstaunchable flow of semiquavers of the conventional moto perpetuo but with a slippery, eel-like tune which contradicts the pounding bass beat with its cross-rhythms and syncopations and finally explodes in a firework burst of cadential flourishes.

from notes by Hugo Cole © 1988

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