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Track(s) taken from CDA67969

Three Pieces for violin and piano

No 1: 1924, dedicated to Sybil Eaton; Nos 2: 1921; No 3: 1921, dedicated to Cyril Monk; published in 1925

Lawrence Power (violin), 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: 11 minutes 29 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 Three Pieces for violin and piano are among Benjamin’s earliest published works—they appeared together in 1925, though ‘Carnavalesque’ and ‘Humoresque’ were written in Sydney in 1921 and ‘Arabesque’ at the village of Beare Green in Surrey in 1924. ‘Arabesque’ is dedicated to the well-known English violinist Sybil Eaton, who was also the recipient of works by Stanford and Finzi, and bears the subtitle ‘The Muted Pavane’ (the violinist plays con sordino throughout). In this beautifully effective piece, as the title suggests, the piano treads a grave dance-measure while the violin spins an ecstatic, floridly decorated line above it, to which the pianist adds amiable counterpoints from time to time. ‘Carnavalesque’ is a waltz whose flexible, bittersweet melody is first spun over a single tolling tone in the piano before launching into full ballroom colours, subito e bruscamente; thereafter lyrical and full-bloodedly romantic ideas alternate until the piece delicately evanesces into silence.

‘Humoresque’ bears a dedication to the leading Sydney-based violinist Cyril Monk (1882–1970), an advocate of modern music who gave the Australian premieres of many works. It is a blithe and brilliant toccata for the two instruments, taking a delight in virtuoso display, passing through a wide range of contrasted moods and textures, with much effective use of pizzicato.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2014

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