Though Bach’s set of six Sonatas and Partitas represents the pinnacle of writing for the solo violin, the Baroque repertoire was rich in compositions for the unaccompanied violin, much of which remains little explored. On this recording Augusta McKay Lodge, hailed as ‘the real thing, a true virtuoso’ (Seen and Heard), explores masters of the genre such as Biber, Locatelli and Pisendel but delves deeper to include the impassioned works of Nicola Matteis, the Franco-Italian warmth of Thomas Baltzar and a series of other long-overshadowed works by their contemporaries.
Part of a major series of recordings of works by Augusta Read Thomas being released by Nimbus Records, this CD originates from a concert by musicians of the University of Illinois, which took place on December 9th 2014 in celebration of Thomas' 50th birthday. The works of Thomas gathered here cover a relatively short span in this composer's chronology just 13 years from the earliest work (Bells Ring Summer, from 2000) to the most recent (the song Twilight Butterfly, from 2013).
The present collection of Augusta Read Thomas's works spans 18 years, from 1999 to 2017. It juxtaposes the two sides of Thomas that we've already encountered in previous volumes, the large-scale thinker in the cello concerto Ritual Incantations, the piano trio Klee Musings and the recent string quartet Chi, and the miniaturist in the six other works which on this disc act as satellites to the above-mentioned three larger works. Two sides that, paradoxically, seem to share more similarities than differences. Common to all the works collected here are the sunny, free-wheeling lyricism, luminosity, sense of colour, spontaneity, caprice, playfulness and spirituality which have long been ineradicable characteristics of her nuanced music, all tied up with an irrepressible energy and a sense of irreducible concision no matter how expansive the time frame, of taking all the time in the world to say everything that needs to be said in any given piece, but not a second more than that!