Mathias: Violin Sonatas – review

Trickey/Llewelyn-Jones (Naxos)

William Mathias's two numbered violin sonatas are supplemented here by an early one, composed in 1952 when he was a schoolboy about to study music at Aberystwyth University. It reveals not only how precocious the young Mathias's confidence and assurance in his composing technique were, but how even then the essentials of his later style were firmly in place, even if its neoclassicism was tinged with a French flavour – the second theme of the Sonata's first movement is pure Poulenc – that was later less obvious. In the mature sonatas, No 1 from 1962, the Second from 1984 to mark the composer's 50th birthday, the style is terser, a bit more abrasive, but fundamentally still neoclassical, with Bartók added to the Stravinskyan mix. They are vivid and compact, with sharp, clean outlines, and Sarah Trickey and pianist Iwan Llewelyn-Jones clearly revel in the idiomatic violin and piano writing. These are excellent performances of finely crafted works.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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