Violin Sonatas these may be, but the piano is equally important – “and piano” – and so it is that York Bowen (a pianist) opens his E-minor Sonata (Opus 112, 1945) with the piano in full cry until the violin takes up its passionate entreaties. Tasmin Little & Piers Lane are a long-established duo of distinction and are in top form, making much of Bowen’s white-hot outpouring in a first movement that is then countered by a reposeful Lento, the calm after the storm, before fire returns to ignite the Finale. Good piece. So too is (also by a pianist) John Ireland’s Violin Sonata No.2 (A-minor, 1917), music that also doesn’t stint on displaying emotions; respectively restless/contemplative and folksy/pensive in the outer movements with soulful song distinguishing the middle one.
Shorter, as befits its title, is the appealing Sonatina (1933) by William Alwyn, Spring-day music untroubled by outside events or personal angst. Shorter still are the premiere recordings of two miniatures: James Francis Brown’s The Hart’s Grace (2016) – written in response to a striking image encountered during a country walk – and Eric Coates’s First Meeting (1943 version), which carries a twenty-first-birthday dedication to the composer’s son, the music oozing heartfelt sentiment.
One final thing, hardly vital but worth a mention I think: given the “and piano” tag, it would have been nice if the cover showed the alliterative Little & Lane together, which to be fair they are displayed later in the booklet, although I appreciate there would have been less room for the frontispiece’s words. Chandos CHAN 20133.