Although Imogen Holst (1907-1984) is best remembered for her efforts to promote her father's music, she had an impressive career as a composer in her own right. She was the First Director of Music at the Darlington Arts Department in the 1940s, assisted Benjamin Britten at the Aldeburgh Festival between 1952 and 1964 and was a great help and inspiration to many eminent musicians.
Imogen Holst's chamber music output is well covered by this excellent disc recorded by Court Lane Music, an interesting label. The Phantasy Quartet includes some intriguing parts as does the Duo for Violin and Piano which includes a 'Poco Lento' movement of particularly ravishing beauty.
Listen -- Imogen Holst: Poco Lento (Duo for Viola and Piano)
(track 3, 1:15-2:07) © 2008 Court Lane Music
The String Trio dates from 1944 at the height of the war's apocalyptic endeavors to destroy mankind. The composer finds much to brood about in this piece with the finale marked Andante and extremely evocative.
Listen -- Imogen Holst: Andante (String Trio No 1)
(track 8, 0:48-1:41) © 2008 Court Lane Music
I greatly enjoyed The Fall of the Leaf and the Sonata for Violin and Cello with the latter dating from 1930. Here I was impressed by Tom Hankey's long and drawn out playing especially in the opening Allegro Ritmico.
Finally we have the String Quintet which dates from 1982 and which brings five performers together in what can be termed as a cacophony of virtuosity. Sample the finale, a virtuosic Theme and Variations for exquisite robustness.
Listen -- Imogen Holst: Theme and Variations (String Quintet)
(track 19, 3:45-5:30) © 2008 Court Lane Music
With stirring performances from these committed artists, the cause of Imogen Holst is justly served and this CD can receive a thorough recommendation.
Copyright © 13 January 2009
Gerald Fenech, Gzira, Malta
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CD INFORMATION: IMOGEN HOLST STRING CHAMBER MUSIC
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