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Tim Homfray
The Strad, April 2017

Jennifer Pike opens The Lark Ascending with delicacy and grace, her vibrato contained and expressive. As she moves into the first melody, that vibrato occasionally stops altogether, leaving pure, expressive notes within the exquisite soundscape. This whole first section is a masterclass in how to structure an extended musical paragraph. The young players of the Chamber Orchestra of New York then come into their own with some fine solo playing, particularly from the flute, as Pike pirouettes lissomly around them (the recording is clear and well balanced). Her playing is clean and fluent, each note perfectly focused and placed. Her double-stopped allargando phrases weaving down in 5ths (mostly) are magical. She has the gift of making time stand still, even as the music flows forwards. © 2017 The Strad Read complete review



Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, March 2017

The value of this release lies in its inclusion of the 1920 Suite of Six Short Pieces for piano, which receives its recording premiere on this disc. Here is the mature and accomplished composer, in this case clearly influenced by his brief study in 1908 with Ravel, a connection even more obvious in the piano originals than in the composer-approved orchestrations by James Brown which were published in 1923 as Charterhouse Suite. Pianist Sina Kloke, the best part of the Fantasia performance, provides charming and idiomatic readings of these lovely, if somewhat unexpected, miniatures. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, March 2017

The performances are generally good, …Both soloists are good. Sina Kloke in the Fantasia has an authoritative presence that really drives the music, and discriminating finger work. In The Lark, violinist Pike soars above the accompaniment. As the string-wind ratio here favors the strings, the performance is charming. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, February 2017

Sina Kloke plays with agreeable discernment and assurance both in [Slow Air] and in the early Fantasia (1896–1902, and revised two years later)—a 21-minute creation of endearing ambition and red-blooded drama, with solo writing of frequently big-boned bravura (‘Brahms meets Liszt’ would be a good description). Salvatore Di Vittorio and his Chamber Orchestra of New York tender spirited support… © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, February 2017

Violinist Jennifer Pike is keenly aware of her instrument’s vital role in introducing and linking each theme with delicate soliloquys. …simply superb. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, January 2017

Sina Kloke plays [Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra] with aplomb, never letting the dense textures overwhelm her, and she handles the cute Six Short Pieces for solo piano with finesse.

…conductor Salvatore Di Vittorio deserves credit for his daring programming, and his interpretations certainly capture each piece well. © 2017 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



John France
MusicWeb International, January 2017

The playing is excellent and reflects a great sympathy towards English music by this orchestra from New York. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, December 2016

Once again, Albion music gifts admirers of the music of Vaughan Williams with its commendable agenda of recording pieces which are not likely to be familiar to the RVW aficionado, except perhaps in other readings with different forces. Vaughan Williams withdrew or destroyed many works from his earliest period, but he considered The Solent, with its haunting opening and luminous polyphonic textures, as among his ‘most important works’. The Fantasia is his earliest known piece for solo instrument with orchestra and contains some of his most bravura writing, contrasting with the graceful geniality of the Suite. Depicting a sublimely pastoral scene and now one of the best loved pieces ever written, Vaughan Williams called The Lark Ascending a ‘romance’, a term reserved for his most profoundly lyrical works. This release presents the world première recording of Vaughan Williams’ Suite of Six Short Pieces for Piano, and only the second recording of first editions of rediscovered early works. © 2016 Classical CD Choice



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2016

Journey down some of the byways of Vaughan Williams vast output, the Suite of Six Short Pieces, in its original solo piano guise, apparently a world premiere recording. Though he was often to extract thematic material from the tone-poem, The Solent, for use in his later works, it is seldom heard in concert programmes, its 1903 date of completion placing it among his early scores. The title is the geographical name for a stretch of water that separates the small Isle of Wight from mainland southern England. Often choppy, it is here pictured in its most still and beautiful state. At much the same time Vaughan Williams was working on a Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra, a quite extensive score that for all its ready accessibility has never found a place in the repertoire. Its problem entirely resides in its lack of Englishness that was to become the composer’s trademark, and though its orchestration is imaginative, it offers no moments of solo virtuosity to attract modern-day pianists. You may well find a passing familiarity for the Suite of Six Short Pieces for Piano, the work becoming better known in its later version for string orchestra, the Charterhouse Suite. That leaves The Lark Ascending—the work that gives the disc its title—and by featuring the violinist, Jennifer Pike, it will have a ready market in the UK, Pike gaining enormous publicity when at the age of twelve she became the 2002 BBC Young Musician of the Year. Since then she has appeared on both sides of the Atlantic, the work featuring in her New York Carnegie Hall debut with the Chamber Orchestra of New York. The solo violin represents the bird in flight, the orchestra picturing an English pastoral suite below. There is an abundance of available versions, but this one is most attractive, Pike’s 1708 Matteo Goffriller violin, one of the world’s finest instruments. Unfussy sound from last year’s studio sessions, Salvatore Di Vittorio capturing the quintessential Englishness from his young orchestra. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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