EMR CD028 | DETAILS
  EMR CD028
   
  THE TOWERS OF MAN
  Yuko Inoue (va) | Francis Pott (pf)
Alla Kravchuk (sop.) | Simon Phillips (pf)
   
  Released December 2014 | EAN 5 060263 500254

In June 2009 Francis Pott attended a performance of his Cello Sonata at the Mananan Arts Festival in Port Erin, Isle of Man. Intrigued by the mysterious Milner Tower on Bradda Head, guarding the entrance to the bay, he walked up to it on a blustery summer’s day. By the time he returned, ideas for a companion sonata for viola and piano had come into being. Not long before this, the Japanese-born, London-based violist Yuko Inoue had requested that Francis consider writing her a piece. The Sonata which eventually resulted is a sweepingly romantic half-hour work embodying the composer’s response to the dramatic southwestern coastline of Man and, in particular, to two of the various towers dotted along its length: Milner Tower and Corrin’s Tower, the latter a commemorative folly with a tragic history, situated on the cliffs above Peel, Man’s only cathedral city.

 

Subtitled ‘Tooryn Vannin’ (Manx for ‘The Towers of Man’), the Sonata is paired on disc with ‘Einzige Tage’ (‘Unrepeatable Days’), a cycle featuring song settings inspired by the Russian poets Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Commissioned in 2010 for the performers on this disc, Ukrainian soprano Alla Kravchuk and British pianist Simon Phillips, the songs present these poems in German translations, a reflection of Alla Kravchuk’s years as a successful operatic soloist in Germany and of widespread interest there in the poetic legacy of Pasternak and Akhmatova.

TRACK LISTING AND AUDIO EXTRACTS
     

Francis Pott (b.1957)
SONATA FOR VIOLA AND PIANO
(‘TOORYN VANNIN – THE TOWERS OF MAN’) (World Première recording)

1. ‘Milner’s Tower’: Con moto appassionato  
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2. ‘Corrin’s Lament’: Andante poco lento  
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3. Vivo, animato  
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‘EINZIGE TAGE’
Nine settings of poems by Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak
(World Première recording)
   
4. ‘Wellen’  
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5. ‘Die Musik’  
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6. ‘Hochzeit’  
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7. ‘Wind’  
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8. ‘Abschied’  
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9. ‘Juli’  
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10. ‘König Grauauge’  
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11. ‘Einzige Tage’  
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12. ‘Finsterer Traum’  
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REVIEWS
Beautifully shaped by Benjamin Frith... Beguiling sounds, graced by the tawny richness and unexaggerated line of Richard Jenkinson’s cello playing... The sense of purpose and sureness of line of Ian Venables’ music is pure oxygen.
EMR CD31 | BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Exquisitely rewarding... Ravishing accounts.
EMR CD029 | CHOIR AND ORGAN
This is music of great beauty and integrity and the performances fully do it justice. It would be criminal to let it pass you by.

EMR CD028 | INTERNATIONAL
RECORD REVIEW

The Bridge Quartet approach these pieces with a sympathetic and insightful warmth, and confirm their ambassadorial credentials for British chamber music. A lovely, radiant disc.
EMR CD025 | Gramophone
Duncan Honeybourne’s playing is astonishingly affectionate, yet never saccharine... Honeybourne plays with suave confidence.
EMR CD024 | INTERNATIONAL PIANO
Rupert Marshall-Luck is an ideal interpreter: generously but not effusively lyrical; agile and athletic... The warm, folk-song like slow movement is at times almost painfully beautiful, with a shimmering pastoral central section... Marshall-Luck is, again, indefatigable and keenly picks up on the work’s melancholic strain.  Finely recorded and with comprehensive booklet notes, this is a must for fans of 20th-century English repertoire.
EMR CD023 | THE STRAD