Marvellously enterprising and revelatory disc
After its initial play-through in the Royal College with Kathleen Long as soloist, for some reason Rubbra rejected this, his first major concerto, and it has not been played again. I am sure that if he had heard this performance, he would have felt quite differently about it. It falls into the fast-slow-fast format of many concertos, but there is a slow introduction, and the central section of the middle movement is quite excitable.
The first movement, beginning atmospherically, is in sonata form and, to quote Paul Conway’s excellent notes, develops into a ‘jaunty folk-like march’. The ensuing Larghetto e tranquillo has a reminder of Vaughan Williams in its meditative opening. The finale is in Rubbra’s favoured compound time, but at this period without the trademark three against two. Ronald Stevenson called it a ‘Scottish sounding Jig’. The concerto’s harmonic language is often lush and, along with some of the melodic contours, drew to my mind aspects of the 2nd Violin Sonata, written immediately afterwards.
These wonderfully idiomatic performances and the recording are outstanding… Snap it up.