Checking the pulse
Vaughan Williams and chamber music, with BASIL RAMSEY
Ralph Vaughan Williams appears much the stronger as a symphonist than
reducing matters to the intimacy of chamber music and four or five players.
Judging by his output that would appear a reasonable assumption, but my
wariness in matters obvious or otherwise accepts that this could be wrong.
This collection of a string quintet and two quartets does not provide
a clear cut answer. The musical content is unequivocally VW, whether early
(not long after study with Ravel), or as late as the forties. The writing
generally accepts the intimacy of the genre, yet I sense the bigger canvas
of larger forces looming occasionally. Modality in the inimitable VW mould
also takes a hand. The characteristic signs find a place in the scherzo
of the G minor quartet [listen -- track 6, 0:00-0:50].
But listen to the scherzo of the later quartet and there's a tougher
argument in progress [listen -- track 11, 1:12-1:36].
Valuable is such a record as this when music from different periods of
a composer's musical travels allows both comparison and enjoyment.
The playing is idiomatic and utterly convincing.
Copyright © 16 May 2001
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.555300
PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM CROTCHET
PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM AMAZON
& Vision home Recent reviews
John Tavener >>
Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series
of shorter CD reviews