David Green

David Green (Books) is the imprint under which I publish booklets of my own poems, or did. There might not be any more to come. We will have to see what happens but, having written The Perfect Book, there might not be anything else to do. Apart from that, the website has become what it is. I hope you find at least some of it worthwhile.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Natalie Clein - Clarke and Bridge

Natalie Clein, Christian Ihle Hadland, Clarke Viola Sonata, Bridge Cello Sonata (Hyperion)

It's me billing this as a Natalie Clein album, not Hyperion. It is not long before one realizes that these sonatas could have had and piano added to their titles without overstating its contribution, which is more than accompaniment.
Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata is here in its cello version, a mix of any number of influences both English and something like Debussy, lyrical at first but lively in a second movement vivace, in which the piano does more of the rapid work, until the third movement's adagio opening seems to capture some post-war reflectiveness. It doesn't work as background music but rewards proper listening. Fourteen years younger than Vaughan Williams, I'm grateful that the booklet points that out so that one can make the necessary connection. The third movement becomes allegro if not agitato before the piano shares the main line in what could anticipate Shostakovich's chamber music.
We then have three short pieces by Frank Bridge, the song-like Serenade, and serenade-like Spring Song, before a fitful Scherzo.
The main point, though, might be the Cello Sonata, dated here 1913-17, with its damaged rapture. If this is also a duet, one is aware of the cello carrying the theme as the senior partner. In two not quite equal movements, the first has a melancholy less damaged than the second, that can again be read into the dates of its composition. That much is apparent from the opening bars of the second movement with its long sequence of four different marked tempi.
The set finishes with six short Studies in English Folk Song by Vaughan Williams, evocative and as nostalgic then as we can feel a double nostalgia for now. The fields, the scenery, the England and, somewhere in there, the drover, are suggested but not expanded on, presumably in the knowledge that rather than outstay one's welcome, it's better to leave them wanting more and the album finishes quietly.