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Track(s) taken from CDH55085



Paul Coletti (viola), Leslie Howard (piano)
Recording details: September 1993
St Peter's Church, Petersham, United Kingdom
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: April 1994
Total duration: 3 minutes 30 seconds


'this anthology of 20th-century music for viola and piano was a deserved inclusion in the BBC Music Magazine's 'Top 1000' CD guide. The Scottish-born Paul Coletti is a master of his instrument, and deploys an impressive range of colours. Well partnered by the versatile Leslie Howard, he gives full Romantic expression to Rebecca Clarke's fine 1919 Sonata and Bax's dramtic Legend. And he is a convincing advocate for posthumously published rarities by Britten and Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge's beautifully written diptych, two delightful Grainger miniatures, and two beautiful lullabies by Clarke which alone are worth Helios's modest price' (BBC Music Magazine)

‘Coletti’s cello-like tone and Leslie Howard’s sensitive accompaniment highlight the big romantic gestures of the Clarke sonata and also project the fervent nature of works such as Bax’s Legend and Frank Bridge’s irresistible Allegro appassionato’ (Classic FM Magazine)
1908 was the year in which Frank Bridge’s two pieces Pensiero and Allegro appassionato were first published in a ‘Viola Library’ series edited by Lionel Tertis. Bridge, of course, was himself a fine viola player, and his early fame was as a performer, not as a composer. Rebecca Clarke said of him: ‘He was one of the finest viola players I’ve ever heard. He could have made a career as a fine conductor but couldn’t stand orchestral musicians. He was without doubt the most talented musician I’ve ever met.’ Bridge was a founder member of the English String Quartet with whom he played until 1915, and he was widely admired as a sensitive and skilled performer. It is surprising, therefore, that his enthusiasm for the least-sung member of the string family should not have found its outlet reflected in compositional output. The two pieces recorded here are the only pieces he wrote for the instrument. Which is a pity given the obvious sympathy he shows for its characteristic sound world.

Pensiero and Allegro appassionato make a perfectly balanced pair of pieces, with the first being elegiac in mood and the second more outgoing. Both show Bridge’s mastery of technique and his real feeling for both piano- and string-writing which saw such a flowering in the magnificent cello sonata. Although the Allegro appassionato is very short and concise, it displays Bridge’s flair for the dramatic, and both pieces show his heightening awareness of the power of chromatic harmony which was to become such a feature of his later style exemplified by his piano sonata.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 1994

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