'The Boosey & Hawkes Violin Anthology'
(Distributed by Hal Leonard, $24.99)
The first movement of “Road Movies” by John Adams takes pride of place in this entertaining anthology of 29 pieces for violin and piano. The publishing firm Boosey & Hawkes brought many composers onto the world stage, most notably Bela Bartók, Benjamin Britten, and Aaron Copland—all of whom are represented here. Many others in their cavalcade also are represented: Prokofiev, for example, by one of his beautiful Five Melodies, Op. 35a, and the slow movement of the Second Violin Concerto.
The use of excerpts is somewhat frustrating. Yet, without this anthology, I would not have found ingenious items like Elena Kats-Chernin’s Eliza Aria from her “Wild Swans” Suite; Finzi’s delightful Hornpipe Rondo, from his little known Violin Concerto; or Ned Rorem’s disarming pieces from “Night Music.” The collection can be viewed as a sampler of items that can form the basis for further study of the complete works.
One complaint: Some items require updating. For example, in Copland’s Waltz from Billy the Kid, there are fingering anomalies. Similarly, Albert Sammons’ many suggested slides in Delius’ Second Sonata should be updated.
Also, a note about the origin of each work and background on the lesser-known composers would be welcome and encourage exploration of the other movements from their works. Still, this is a tantalizing, if uneven, collection.