Recordings made between 1952 and 1958 (mono/stereo)

Sonatas for Violin & Piano by Busoni, Delius, Elgar, Mihalovici, Ravel and Walton, with pianists Monique Haas, Colin Horsley and Noel Mewton-Wood

The first disc collects three Sonatas that are each around the twenty-five-minute mark. Elgar’s (with Horsley) is given an impassioned outing, immediately establishing Rostal’s virtuosity, distinctive tone and shapely phrasing, and he is also alive to the music’s confidences, not least in the enigmatic slow movement. Horsley is every bit Rostal’s equal – playing with bravura and sympathy, and is no-less engaging in Walton’s two-movement Sonata (the second cast as Variations), music that suggests autobiography, deep of heart and soul: volatile, played beautifully and insightfully by Rostal. The Sonata (Opus 45) by Marcel Mihalovici (1898-1985) – stereo, with Haas – is a tightly wrought work of energy and intensity (outer movements) with a plaintive central Larghetto cantabile.

On LP the Mihalovici was coupled with Ravel’s G-major Sonata, here given an idiomatic rendition. Continuing CD2 is Delius’s equally compact Second Sonata, Horsley returning (and originally sharing with this composer’s Cello Sonata from Anthony Pini & Wilfred Parry), evocative and expressive music. Finally the expansive Sonata No.2 (E-minor, Op.36a) by Ferruccio Busoni, forty minutes in this performance with Noel Mewton-Wood, an heroic collaborator to the committed Rostal. This wonderful work receives sterling advocacy from both artists, whether in the contemplative opening movement, the devilish short second, or the variety and largesse of the often-sublime Finale.

This handsome release comes with good sound, detailed presentation (including first-release artwork) and an illuminating booklet note by Tully Potter. Eloquence 482 9059 (2 CDs).