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Hyperion Records

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A View of the Abbey Mill and Weir on the River Avon at Bath by Thomas Ross (fl1730-1745)
Ackermann & Johnson Ltd / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55260
Recording details: January 1996
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1996
Total duration: 17 minutes 57 seconds

'Playing of touching beauty in the slow movements and infectious energy elsewhere, supported by a robust and fragrant orchestral accompaniment. Bravo to all concerned for another distinctive release in the [English Orpheus] series' (Gramophone)

'This disc proves as delightful as it is surprising … a disc of rarities that will give much unexpected pleasure … I heard this CD on its first release and absolutely loved it. I was astonished that the violin concerto had reached such levels in classical England … these are four challenging, tuneful pieces that deserve to be heard again and again' (Early Music Review)

'It's good to see this fine recording reissued at mid price … these concertos are attractive, tuneful and extremely accomplished' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The performances transcend specialists' interest and the recording should therefore appeal to the broadest possible range of listeners. Highly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

Violin Concerto No 2 in D major
composer
1781; British Library Add. MSS 35008/9; contains quotations from Gluck's La rencontre imprévue

Allegro maestoso  [10'13]
Largo  [3'50]
Rondeau  [3'54]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Samuel Wesley mixes elements of the Baroque and Classical styles in an effective way in his D major Concerto of 1781. It is the second of seven violin concertos he wrote between 1779 and 1785 for the concerts he organized with his brother Charles in the family house in Chesterfield Street, Marylebone; Wesley was just fifteen at the time. It contains some extremely taxing solo writing, with high positions and elaborate double stops, while the first movement is an assured example of mature Classical concerto form—though, at more than 350 bars, it also shows that he had not yet learned when to stop! The slow movement has some attractive ethereal passages for three solo violins, while the helter-skelter finale is delightfully sure-footed. From time to time Wesley throws in a cheeky quotation from the march in Gluck’s La rencontre imprévue (1764), known in German as Die Pilgrimme von Mecca, which Mozart used as the basis of a set of piano variations. It is not clear how he came across the theme, for Gluck’s opera does not seem to have been produced or published in London.

from notes by Peter Holman © 1996

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