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ALWYN: Sonata impromptu / Sonatina / Ballade / Rhapsody / 3 Winter Poems / Songs

Composer(s):Alwyn, William
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber MusicInstrumentalVocal
Catalogue 8.570340
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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William Alwyn composed prolifically in virtually all genres, orchestral, chamber, vocal and instrumental. Like his contemporary Samuel Barber, Alwyn was an unashamed Romantic who preferred his music to appeal to the heart rather than to the head. The works presented here, five of which are recorded for the first time, cover a period of fifty years from the Two Songs for Voice, Violin and Piano of 1931 to the Chaconne For Tom for recorder and piano dating from 1982. In each of these pieces Alwyn’s compositional gift and technical mastery of his chosen medium are immediately apparent.


Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

The works here span Alwyn’s composing career from the Two Songs of 1931 (in which Huw Williams sings sympathetically…) to the engaging little Chaconne variations on ‘Happy Birthday’ for Tom (Pitfield), written in 1982. However, the duet works here are the most appealingfor viola and piano and for violin and viola (both beautifully played). The Rhapsody (1939) is a most effectively constructed miniature and the atmospheric Winter Poems are certainly bleakly wintry. Performances are most sympathetic and the recording is well balanced.

Review By Robert R. Reilly,,July 2008

After giving us British composer William Alwyn's orchestral music, including his Five Symphonies, Naxos had added three more CDs featuring his piano music (8.570359), song cycles (8.570201) and chamber music (8.570340). The latter contains some real jewels, like the Sonata Impromptu for Violin and Viola, and the Three Winter Poems for String Quartet. All praise to Naxos for giving Alwyn (1905-1985) his belated due.

Review By Andrew Stewart,Classic FM,October 2007

William Alwyn, who played flute with the London Symphony Orchestra in the late 1920s and 1930s, made his name as a film composer with fine scores to films such as The History of Mr Polly and Carve her name with pride. Although his tuneful chamber music occasionally labours under the weight of too many ideas, the emotional thrust and elegance of Alwyn's melodic writing register the strongest impressions. Violinist Madeleine Mitchell and a distinguished company of musical friends unlock the romantic richness of works such as the Sonatina and the gorgeous Ravel-like Ballade for viola and piano. Outstanding.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,July 2007

Having brought to the catalogue landmark recordings of William Alwyn's symphonies and piano concertos, Naxos now turns its attention to his chamber music and songs, this new release containing five world premiere performances on disc. Born in 1905, Alwyn had to terminate his musical education at the age of 18 in order to earn a living for the family following his father�s untimely death. Yet such were his gifts as a musician, London's Royal Academy of Music invited him back three years later to take the post as composition tutor. By his mid-thirties he had amassed a considerable catalogue of works, but a period of self- reassessment brought about the destruction of almost all of his scores. He had come into the world at a time when England was looking for a successor to Elgar, and



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