Recital at St Luke’s, Brighton 22nd June 2012

Recital at St Luke’s Church, Brighton. Friday 22nd June 7.30pm, Pre-concert talk 6.45pm.

St. Luke’s Church, Brighton, set up for performance

Diana Mathews – viola, Jonathan Beatty – piano.

J. S. Bach (1685-1750) Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 3 in G minor BWV 1029 (c.1720)

Schumann (1810-1856) Adagio and Allegro Op. 70 for viola and piano (1849)

Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960) Sonata for viola and piano (1942)

Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Suite for viola and piano (1934)

York Bowen (1884-1961) Rhapsody in G minor for viola and piano Op. 149 (1955)

[audio:|titles=York Bowen Rhapsody in G minor Diana Mathews viola Jonathan Beatty piano.]

Diana Mathews and Jonathan Beatty in performance at St Luke’s, Brighton

York Bowen

York Bowen’s Rhapsody in G minor for viola and piano was completed in 1955, and was written for the violist Maurice Loban, who broadcast it that year with York Bowen. It is a substantial one-movement work, very strong and exciting in character, as well as quite virtuosic in places. Bowen, who incidentally also played the viola and horn, was a virtuoso pianist with whom Lionel Tertis performed a great deal.

[audio:|titles=Arthur Benjamin Sonata for viola and piano First Movement Diana Mathews viola Jonathan Beatty piano.]

Arthur Benjamin

Arthur Benjamin is known as the composer of one piece in particular: The Jamaican Rumba. However, there is a great deal more to him than one popular success in the field of light music. He was born in Sydney, coming to the Royal College of Music in 1911. Fellow students included Bliss, Howells, and Ivor Gurney. Benjamin studied composition with Stanford. In 1921 he became a Professor of piano at the Royal College of Music. He lived in Canada for much of the Second World War and his major works from this period include his Symphony, and his Viola sonata, which is also known as Elegy, Waltz and Toccata. The viola sonata was composed in 1942, and bears the dedication ‘written for and dedicated to William Primrose’. It was simultaneously prepared as a Concerto for viola and orchestra. It was premiered by Frederick Riddle and the Halle Orchestra in 1948. Both symphony and sonata reflect the sombre mood of the times as well as the darker territory that Benjamin had begun to explore.

[audio:|titles=Schumann Adagio and Allegro Op70 Diana Mathews viola Jonathan Beatty piano.]

Robert and Clara Schumann

Schumann’s ‘Adagio and Allegro’, which we will play today in its version for viola and piano, was originally written for the newly developed valved French horn and piano. Schumann, conscious of the need for saleability, made a note in the manuscript that it could also be played on string instruments. The work evokes a wide range of expression. It covers the full range of the French horn with wide leaps and narrow diminished intervals in a way which would have been impossible on the natural horn. The original title of the Adagio was Romance. With its lengthy, lyrical lines, the Adagio recalls to mind many of Schumann’s songs.

[audio:|titles=Bach Viola da Gamba Sonata No 3 First Movement Diana Mathews Viola Jonathan Beatty piano.]

J. S. Bach

The third is the most striking of Bach’s three viola da gamba sonatas, with 3 movements rather than 4. More typical of the Vivaldian concerto than a trio sonata, the style of music especially in the first movement resembles that of the concerto idiom. As a piece in the more ‘private’ sonata genre, it is doubly effective, pointing to worlds and concepts outside its own confines. The bold gestures, especially where the gamba and harpsichord come together in unison, belie the traditionally introverted natures of both instruments and evoke a tutti string section. The central movement contains an astonishing variety of motives, and the finale provides a virtuosic display interspersed with a more lyrical episode.

[audio:|titles=Vaughan Williams Suite Musette Diana Mathews viola Jonathan Beatty piano]

Vaughan Williams

Vaughan Williams’ Suite is a work in eight movements for solo viola and orchestra, (here viola and piano) composed in 1933 to 1934. It was inspired by Lionel Tertis, who was the Viola soloist for a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Flos Campi in 1925. Tertis’ talent led the composer to write this Suite. Tertis premiered the Suite in 1934 at the Queen’s Hall in London under the baton of Malcolm Sargent. It reflects the composer’s pleasure in writing an English style of music by

evoking, in this case, the forms of song and dance popular in the England of his youth.

[audio:|titles=Vaughan Williams Suite Polka Melancolique Diana Mathews viola Jonathan Beatty piano]