Eugene Goossens: Complete Music for Violin and Piano

Naxos 8.572860

Violin Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 21 (1918)
Lyric Poem, Op. 35 (1919-20)
Old Chinese Folk-Song (from The Yang-tse-Kiang), Op. 4, No. 1 (1912)
Romance (from Act III of Don Juan de Mañara), Op. 57 (1937)
Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 50 (1930)

‘A member of one of the most important English musical dynasties of the 19th and 20th centuries, Eugene Goossens (1893-1962) trained as a violinist and composer but gained fame as a conductor. His Sonata No. 1 integrates a personal style with the influences of Debussy and Ravel, the improvisatory Lyric Poem being from the same period. Dedicated to Jascha Heifetz, the dramatic extremes of the Sonata No. 2 range from brooding melancholy to affirmative luminosity, sharing a “lyrical intensity” with the Romance.’

‘The music of Eugene Goossens has meagre representation on CD and this attractive catch-all programme of the complete works for violin and piano enters the catalogues unchallenged. New to Naxos, internationally renowned violinist Robert Gibbs has established a fine career as leader and guest leader of numerous orchestras including the London Festival Orchetra and Birmingham Royal ballet Sinfonia. His recording of Sonatas by Arnold Bax on the ASV label was welcomed as having ‘intuitive, sympathetic playing.’ (Gramophone)’

‘Gibbs is simply perfect for this material, technically stunning, with a warm, sweet, lyrical sound and a fast and fairly constant vibrato very reminiscent of Heifetz. Fenyő is every bit his equal, especially in the demanding second sonata.’
(Terry Robbins, The Whole Note, May 2012)

‘Imagine the distinctive chromaticism of Delius and Bridge welded seamlessly together. That should give you some idea what to expect from this fine recital of indelibly English chamber morsels.’
(**** Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine, September 2012)

‘Of the British composers/conductors Goossens is the one who wrote most consistently interesting and challenging music that continued on into his conducting career.

…the Lyric Poem is particularly impressive. However, it is the two sonatas, and the second especially, that demand to be far better known…all credit to Gibbs and Fenyo for the total conviction of their performance. Apart from the sheer excitement of much of the writing Goossens achieves a very impressive dramatic/emotional arc…I have nothing but praise for the performers who understand the style to perfection and therefore project this shifting landscape with great skill and subtlety…Lyrical intensity is certainly a quality that Gibbs and Fenyö possess in abundance…It strikes me as one of the more impressive British violin sonatas of the inter-war years and its neglect is saddening. It is to be hoped that this very fine performance will help to rectify the oversight.

An excellent collection; passionate interpretations of major works played with great skill presented in fine sound – a winner.’
(Nick Barnard, MusicWeb International, June 2012)

‘The present edition of the Complete Violin Music is a welcome addition to the repertoire…The Violin Sonata No.1 in E minor is a striking work that deserves its place in the repertoire of all violinists. Written in 1918, it reflects the influence of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. Yet there is nothing of pastiche here. This sonata is full of ‘vigorous and rhapsodic’ writing that never flags.’
(John France, MusicWeb International, May 2012)

Available direct from Music-Makers @ £5 (including postage & packing).