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Julian Haylock
BBC Music Magazine, September 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. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine



Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, June 2012

A warm welcome for this disc of the complete works for violin and piano by Eugene Goossens. 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 disc is well-planned with the two substantial Sonatas framing the three briefer but by no means inconsiderable occasional works. Any of these three would make a valuable filler in a recital programme as they balance concision with appeal. Of them the Lyric Poem is particularly impressive…all credit to Gibbs and Fenyö 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 to his writing. 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. Running to over half an hour this is a major work but one that wears its scale with ease. 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.

Credit too to producer/engineer Michael Ponder for keeping the piano well forward in the overall aural picture. The recording as a whole is understatedly excellent with the tone of the instruments truthfully caught in the reliably pleasing acoustic of Potton Hall.

An excellent collection; passionate interpretations of major works played with great skill presented in fine sound—a winner. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



John France
MusicWeb International, May 2012

The present edition of the Complete Violin Music is a welcome addition to the repertoire. These featured the violinist Oliver Lewis and pianist Jeremy Filsell.

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.

I have not consciously listened to the Lyric Poem, Op. 35 before. This is heart-achingly beautiful music. R.H. Hull writing in Music & Letters in October 1931 has noted that this work has ‘an easy grace and melodic spontaneity far removed from the abstract intellectualism responsible, in earlier works, for a tendency to coldness and inhumanity.’

The ‘way too short’ Old Chinese Folk-song is a sheer delight. This is not like some Ketèlbey confection written for the salon. It is a genuinely researched little miniature.

I do like the Romance for violin and piano which was derived from Goossens totally forgotten opera Don Juan de Mañara (1937). The work was ‘extracted’ as a ‘free transcription’ from the pages of the score by the composer and was dedicated to Heifetz. The languid piece has a definite Mediterranean feel to it. The harmonies are slippery and deliciously chromatic, the melody is lyrical. This is the stuff that dreams are made of, especially on a cold Easter Saturday in the North of England.

The sound quality is good. The playing by Robert Gibbs and Gusztáv Fenyő sounds excellent and appears to be accurate…The liner-notes which are written by the present pianist are instructive. Finally, I loved the cover picture of Mornington Crescent by Spencer Frederick Gore (1878-1914) who was one of the Camden Town group of painters. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, May 2012

Naxos has issued an outstanding CD of his [Eugene Goossens] Complete Music for Violin and Piano, featuring violinist Robert Gibbs and pianist Gusztav Fenyo (8.572860).

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. Fenyo is every bit his equal, especially in the demanding second sonata. © 2012 The WholeNote Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2012

Eugene Goossens came from a musical dynasty and was the third person to carry that name, his siblings becoming three of London’s best known instrumentalists. He had a mixed career as a conductor, composer and educationalist, for many years working in the United States where he was among its leading conductors. As a composer he was, as young man, inspired by the music of Debussy, Richard Strauss and, to a lesser extent, Stravinsky, though this disc shows that he belonged to the style that brought international recognition to Szymanowski. His two Violin Sonatas, from 1918 and 1930 speak in that same erotic language with long flowing melodic statements of sensual beauty. Both violin and piano parts are of equal importance, the violin often cast in a decorative role, the First Sonata having such a happy personality it is difficult to place it in the last year of the First World War. The thematic material has that feel of familiarity with other composers, and if you enjoy the music of Bax, this will be much to your liking. The more extended Second—well in excess of thirty minutes—ends in one of the disc’s rare moments of animated and overt brilliance. He began work on the Lyric Poem in the year after the first sonata, originally scoring it for violin and orchestra, Bax again coming to mind. My favourite track is with the Romance from the opera, Don Juan de Manara, a piece that you could include among your salon evergreens. Though the violin part is not technically demanding, creating these long flowing lines can be taxing, and in this UK duo Robert Gibbs is the much experienced soloist who provides everything required. He has a fine piano partner in the Hungarian-born, Gusztav Fenyő. Very good sound. © 2012 David’s Review Corner






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10:46:49 PM, 20 December 2014
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