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Track(s) taken from CDA67969

Jamaican Rumba

1937; originally for two pianos, written for Valerie and Joan Trimble, as the second of Two Jamaican Pieces; solo piano version published in 1945
based on the composer's version for violin and piano; published in 1954

Lawrence Power (viola), Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: December 2012
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Matthew Dilley
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: June 2014
Total duration: 1 minutes 51 seconds

Cover artwork: Track by Charlie Baird (b1955)


'This recording widens our horizons, revealing the thoughtful, technically brilliant and cosmopolitan musician that Benjamin’s friends and students in London, Canada and his native Australia always knew him to be … whether playing his viola or violin, Lawrence Power is in total sympathy with Benjamin’s shifting moods, and Simon Crawford-Phillips proves a lithe and responsive piano partner. A bouncy recording and excellent inlay notes offer more inducements for listeners to discover that the Jamaican Rumba man, composer of five operas and a powerful symphony, was far from a one-trick pony' (BBC Music Magazine)» More

'Lawrence Power, our leading viola player, comes to [Benjamin's] defence by recording Benjamin's work premiered by previous greats, Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. He switches to the violin for the formidably difficult Sonatina and the delightfully quixotic Three Pieces for Violin and Piano, before he and Simon Crawford-Phillips settle the argument with the profound Viola Sonata of 1942' (The Observer)» More

'Power (b1977) is perhaps the outstanding British instrumentalist of his generation, and not only a viola player but, as this disc richly demonstrates, a violinist, too … Power’s viola sound has a notable seductiveness, a sort of electric sweetness, but his genius for phrasing is as effective in Benjamin’s 1924 Violin Sonatina (more substantial than the title suggests) as in his searching 1942 Viola Sonata, the focus here. A virtuosic arrangement by the sonata’s dedicatee, William Primrose, of Benjamin’s 'hit', Jamaican Rumba, ends the sequence' (The Sunday Times)» More
The best-known of all Benjamin’s light-music pieces, Jamaican Rumba was based on a tune he heard in the West Indies while examining there for the RCM. First composed for two pianos in 1937, as the second of Two Jamaican Pieces, it was arranged for many combinations. The original version was in fact composed in a single morning for two of Benjamin’s students, Valerie and Joan Trimble, who were about to give their first recital. The composer made a violin-and-piano version, dedicated to Jascha Heifetz; and this was in turn arranged for the viola by William Primrose and published in 1954. The high-spirited melodic and rhythmic confection of the piece (Howells’s ‘enchanting brevity’) answered to a current vogue for South American and Caribbean idioms created by American jazz and popular music of the 1930s and 1940s.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2014

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