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Track(s) taken from CDA67969

From San Domingo

Allegro ma non troppo; originally for two pianos; viola and piano version of 1945 dedicated to William Primrose

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: 2 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
From San Domingo is a Caribbean-style miniature. The title refers to the old Spanish name for the island that now accommodates the republics of Dominica and Haiti—a racial and musical melting-pot in which Spanish, African and Creole influences were freely mixed. Though this may have been intended to exploit the market opened up by the Jamaican Rumba (and like that work, it was originally scored for two pianos), it is in fact a quite different sort of piece. The version for viola and piano, dedicated to Primrose, appeared in 1945. The piano’s opening rhythmic ostinato calls for the player to rap with the knuckles on the piano lid, producing a rhythmic figure of five rapid quavers which becomes an integral motif in the viola’s melody. Though the mood is generally raffish and carefree, towards the end comes a melancholy snatch of song in Spanish style; in the coda the violist is instructed to play the rhythmic figure col legno, the wood of the bow answering the wood of the piano.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2014

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