Edmund Rubbra BBC Broadcasts – Flawed Musical Treasures

This release features three live performances broadcast by the BBC in the 1960s. the recordings are from the Richard Itter collection; professional-grade recordings of radio broadcasts.

Some of the Lyrita releases of this material have had amazing sound quality. In these performances, though, the sound seems somewhat lo-fi and closed in.

But the quality of the performances more than makes up for any deficiencies of the audio. Edmund Rubbra gives authoritative performances in two of the three works on this release.

Rubbra performs his Prelude and Fugue on a theme of Cyril Scott and one of Scott’s own compositions in a 1967 broadcast. His playing clearly delineates each line of counterpoint, while keeping all the strands together in a cohesive whole.

Rubbra’s Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra was written in 1934-36, and revised six years later. The work isn’t about technical fireworks, but rather lyrical expressiveness. Rubbra performs with both delicacy and power as the music demands. And in the process provides a model for how this work should be performed (and why it should be more often).

The recorded broadcast of the Violin Concerto is from 1960, a year after Rubbra completed the work. Ednré Wolf’s interpretation infuses the music with his Hungarian heritage. And it works. This is a thrilling performance that brings out the melodic strengths of Rubbra’s music.

Edmund Rubbra
Sinfonia Concertante – Edmund Rubbra, piano; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Hugo Rignold, conductor
Prelude and Fugue on a theme of Cyril Scott, Op. 69 – Edmund Rubbra, piano
Violin Concerto, Op. 103 – Ednré Wolf, violin; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Rudolf Schwarz, conductor

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