Delius Violin Sonatas
There is a tendency, I fear, for some lovers of Delius's music to keep looking back to great artists of the past, and to regard their recorded performances as definitive yardsticks, against which they measure, usually disparaginly, those performers of today who venture on to Delian territory. Here we have a Polish violinist and an American pianist who penetrate to the heart of three masterly sonatas, and who show clearly enough that the printed score, allied to high-class intuitive musicianship, is enough to make Delius a composer who can be understood universally, and who is not merely the property of local enthusiasts with set views.
I foolishly neglected to investigate the LP of these performances after hearing Wilkomirska play the Delius Violin Concerto with poor intonation at a London concert. In the perhaps less nervous atmosphere of the recording studio it is only during the first, longest and maybe most taxing sonata that this hypersensitive artist is other than technically quite secure, and even here her lapses are insignificant. Both she and Garvey have the secret of preserving the music's heartbeat and keeping it moving forward, no matter how slow the tempo might be, and however flexibly they may phrase within a basic pulse. While they do not attempt to disguise the somewhat episodic nature of the music, they do find in it an underlying structural strength and, above all, they respond excitingly to Delius's melodic inspiration and to his passion and warmth. The piano tone is slightly soft and bass-orientated but otherwise the recording has come up well. This is the best complete recording of the sonatas to have been made yet.'