The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: A rarely heard British violin concerto makes a distinctive mark
Musicians: Lorraine McAslan (violin) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones
Composer: Alwyn

At its completion in 1939, William Alwyn’s Violin Concerto already belonged to a previous generation, its influences coming from Elgar and Vaughan Williams. The central movement provides one of the most beautiful moments in English music, but the work has rarely been performed. The concerto’s opening, imperious under David Lloyd?Jones’s baton, is answered by the soloist’s robust entry, and the work takes in many engaging moods as it unfolds. It is not an outwardly virtuoso score, but it does demand a brilliance in which Lorraine McAslan’s playing bristles. Her pianissimo passages have a magical quality, and she invests the central Allegretto with the feeling of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. The finale has her mercurial fingers dancing around the orchestra. Her performance as a whole comes highly recommended.

Lloyd-Jones has already shown on previous releases that he is an unsurpassed Alwyn champion, and here adds two highly enjoyable ‘encores’. Sound quality is outstanding.