Wednesday, 1 June 2011

British Violin Concertos: My Personal Baker’s Dozen

As promised in my recent post about Arnold Bax’s great Violin Concerto is a baker’s dozen of MY favourite examples of the genre. Some are old favourites such as the Elgar, the Moeran and the Walton, however many I have discovered only recently with the release of much material from the Lyrita archives and the sterling efforts of Dutton Epoch.

I have put them roughly chronologically, as I could not settle on my personal ratings for these excellent works. However, I find that I could not live without any of them now. Furthermore, there are over a hundred examples of the British and Commonwealth Violin concerto currently in the CD catalogue, See Michael Herman’s listings on MusicWeb International for further details. Finally I do expect that other enthusiasts of British Music would come up with a different, but equally impressive list!

Alexander Mackenzie Violin Concerto in C sharp minor, Op. 32 (1884-5 ) [Hyperion]
Charles Villiers Stanford Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 74 (1899) [Hyperion]
Edward Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 (1909-10) [Many!!]
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 80 (1911) [Lyrita, Hyperion and Avie]
Haydn Wood Violin Concerto in A minor (1928) [Dutton]
Arthur Somervell Violin Concerto in G minor (1930) [Hyperion]
Guirne Creith Violin Concerto in G minor (1932-34) [Dutton]
Arnold Bax Violin Concerto (1938) [Chandos]
William Walton Violin Concerto (1938-9) [Many]
E.J. Moeran Violin Concerto (1941) [Lyrita]
Thomas Pitfield Concerto Lirico for Violin and Full Orchestra (1958) [Dutton]
David Morgan Violin Concerto (1965-6) [Lyrita]
Lionel Sainsbury Violin Concerto, Op. 14 (1989) [Dutton]

Finally, out of the above listings, I have to admit that the Elgar and the Walton are my two favourite concertos. However, I feel that David Morgan’s essay is probably one of the finest of the ‘undiscovered’ works. And Lionel Sainsbury has written a masterpiece that demands to become a concert favourite.


SH said...

Do you know the concerto by Christopher Headington? It is a fine work which sits well in this company, although perhaps not as characterful or memorable as the Morgan. Recorded by Xue Wei on ASV in 1991 and sice deleted.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly useful. I've just purchased the Moeran and Bax. The Walton and Elgar are sublime...

John France said...

Glad you found it helpful!!!

John F

Tja said...

This is a most helpful reduction of the 100+ violin concerti available - so, thanks!
Unfortunately, the web site for Guirne Creith, aka Gladys Mary Cohen, is down: This is cited in the comprehensive sleeve notes which accompany the Dutton Digital recording of the Creith, Arnell and Pitfield vilolin concerti, by Lewis foreman (2009)
Does anyone have any information about this site or a live link?