JOHN BLACKWOOD MCEWEN (1868-1948): Viola Concerto, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Suite for Viola and Small Orchestra, Flos Campi for Viola, Chorus and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 11N005
Reference: CDA 67839
Description: All three works here were written for the ubiquitous Lionel Tertis but the reason to buy this is obviously the McEwen (not claimed as a world premiere but have you ever heard of another recording of it?). A 31-minute work from 1901, it predates the influence of Impressionism on British music; instead, it's a Romantic Concerto on a large scale in which the composer attempts both to show listeners unaccustomed to the viola as a solo instrument what it can do and to find a way to orchestrate so that the soloist is never drowned out. The first movement is grand, as already suggested, while the second (Allegretto grazioso) is rather lightly scored "fairy music" in the 19th century Frederick Cowen tradition and the finale a bustling Allegro con brio; in both final movements, there is much attractive writing for woodwinds. Lawrence Power (viola), BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales; Martyn Brabbins.