Subito

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edvard Grieg, Witold Lutoslawski, Henryk Wieniawski

Genre:

Chamber

Label: Signum

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: SIGCD486

SIGCD486. Subito

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(The) Lark ascending Ralph Vaughan Williams Composer
Julia Hwang
Charles Matthews
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 Charles Matthews
Edvard Grieg Composer
Julia Hwang
Subito Witold Lutoslawski Composer
Julia Hwang
Charles Matthews
Fantaisie brillante on themes from Gounod's 'Faust Julia Hwang
Charles Matthews
Henryk Wieniawski Composer
The appeal here, quite aside from some excellent playing, is in the way the programme has been planned. My personal preference with Vaughan Williams’s Lark is for the orchestral version; and while Julia Hwang is a model of expressive purity in the solo part and Charles Matthews provides her with an appropriately stilled accompaniment, as presented the bird’s ascent seems limited to the oak rafters of a spacious barn, beyond which lies an imagined sky. Then comes the first surprise: Lutosławski’s brilliant, short-term Subito (‘Suddenly’), like a rifle shot that shockingly causes havoc, Hwang’s lark thrown back to earth amid a swirling storm of feathers. The juxtaposition all but provides us with a totally new piece, an aural drama that stands its ground on its own terms, even though a mite uncomfortable.

A good idea too that the lark should have followed on the grass-stained heels of Grieg’s violin sonata masterpiece, the dramatic C minor – surely the best of three, extremely well played by a partnership that thrives, the central Allegretto espressivo being especially affecting. And then there’s the second surprise: following Lutosławski with a gifted Pole from an earlier generation, Henryk Wieniawski and his 17-minute melange of tunes from Gounod’s Faust skilfully knitted together and played by this talented duo with a semblance of old-world wit and warmth.

In an appreciative booklet introduction, Andrew Nethsingha, director of music at St John’s College, Cambridge, lets us in on the fact that the release of this attractive programme coincides with Julia Hwang’s graduation. I’d say that it augurs well for her future, so here’s hoping that her next CD is already in the making. Excellent notes by our own Richard Bratby.

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