Gramophone Magazine December 2011 Editor's Choice
Lawrence Power has established himself as the most sought-after violist of his generation and his sumptuous tone and persuasive interpretations have lead to many comparisons with the pioneering British violist Lionel Tertis. Indeed, the three works on this disc were written for Tertis, who did so much to broaden the instrument’s musical repertoire and raise its status to an accepted solo instrument.
The two Vaughan Williams works display an unabashed romanticism and pastoral elegance. Flos Campi, meaning ‘Flower of the field’, was completed in 1925 and puzzled audiences with its ambiguous form and unusual orchestration.
Despite the prominent solo viola and wordless chorus, it is neither a concerto nor a choral work. The seamless viola line moves in unity with the orchestra and the chorus appears as a body of instruments, creating an effect of mesmerizing beauty and calm. The little-performed Suite for viola and small orchestra was written ten years later and contains some of the composer’s most lyrical inventions.
The lush orchestration and memorable themes in Sir John McEwen’s 1901 concerto expose this large-scale work as a neglected gem of the viola repertoire and Power’s performance is sure to set a new benchmark. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, under the expert and unfailingly sensitive guidance of Martyn Brabbins, provides expert backing throughout.
Power's playing is wonderfully varied, at times delicate and poetical, at others broad, passionate and generous. This is especially so in the case of the two works by Vaughan Williams...This is a must-have for all lovers of Vaughan Williams and British music in general! Gramophone
[Power's] every phrase pulsates with an inner glow. He also captures unerringly the sense of mystery and veiled threat that haunts the unforgettable Flos Campi...The McEwen Concerto is a three-movement barnstormer in the Bruch tradition, which Power plays with a majestic virtuosity that fires on all cylinders. Classic fm *****