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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: 14 minutes 54 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)

Violin Sonata No 1, Op 15

Allegretto  [5'07]
Allegro vivace  [4'55]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The First Violin Sonata dates from 1947 and was first performed by Nona Liddell and Daphne Ibbott. Violin and piano simultaneously announce two energetic and wide-ranging themes which are fragmented to provide most of the material for the first movement. A figure in rocking thirds (which remains the piano’s exclusive property) and a three-note gruppetto motif also play important parts in later developments, while two short episodes (‘staccato a pizzicato’) provide respite from the contrapuntal debate. In the second movement the violin’s tranquil cantabile is abruptly interrupted by one of the most violent and dissonant passages Arnold has ever written, after which the original theme is quietly resumed as if the calamity had never been. In the finale the arpeggios of the violin’s first lively and brilliant theme are taken up by both instruments (roles are freely exchanged in later developments). A more sententious theme for the violin in double-stopping is repeated by the piano, then hustled out of the way to make only furtive and fragmentary appearances thereafter. After much animated dialogue a tarantella-like rhythm invades the music. The instruments dispute the tonality fiercely, but at the last moment agree on a final unison B flat.

from notes by Hugo Cole © 1988

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