John Tallis 1911-1996 - A composer of his time
John Tallis was born in Australia at the end of the golden era before the world was ripped apart by the horrors of the First World War; his music reflects the optimism of the much vaunted, if unfulfilled, Second Elizabethan Age.
This CD features music for piano (performed by Stefan Cassomenos), violin (Monica Curro), and soprano (Janet Todd), introducing a fascinating, undiscovered aspect of Australian compositional history.
The most significant work here is the inventive and fresh three-movement Sonata, which has a French influence. Stefan Cassomenos handles the juxtaposition of left and right hand motives very skilfully, as well as the forward flow of the interesting links between phrases. And near the end the rapid passages in the left hand with the positive chords in the right hand. The Interlude is a delightful reverie, and the brilliant and scintillating Conclusion, with a big flourish at the end, would not have been out of place in a work by Ravel!
The Fantasy for violin and piano is based on two Aboriginal themes displays excellent rapport between the two instruments. Tallis has clad the inventive theme with a seamless development.
The CD includes a paraphrase of The Sentimental Bloke, also for violin and piano; a Suite in eighteenth century style, seven very short pieces for piano, incidental music to Marlowe's play Edward II, and three delightful songs sung by Janet Todd.
John Tallis studied in Paris with Marcel Dupre and Madame Bascouret in the late 20s and early 30s, and subsequently at the Royal College of Music in London.
Melbourne pianist, conductor and composer Stefan Cassomenos gives regular recitals and concerto performances throughout Australia, and has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe and Asia. His 2007 London debut was reviewed in Musical Opinion by John Amis, as ‘a prodigious London debut by a formidable talent’.
Violinist Monica Curro graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1987 and completed a Masters Degree at Michigan State University in 1991.
Janet Todd is a young Melbourne soprano. Janet has been the recipient of the Beleura-Tallis Opera Scholarship through the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust since 2010. She received runner up in the Herald Sun Aria in 2009 and won the Opera Foundation Australia AIMS Award in 2010.
“The recording is clear and spacious and well balanced, and the piano sounds very good. And I am very impressed by Stefan’s playing – fluent, with a sensitive touch and fine judgment of phrasing, as well as what seems to me to be a good grasp of the composer’s intentions. And that goes also for the sensitive violinist, with her faultless intonation.”
— Ian Hunt, who shared a mutual appreciation of the significant arts with John Tallis for many years.,
- Fantasy for violin and piano John Tallis
- Paraphrase: The Sentimental Bloke John Tallis
- I. Toccata
- II. Allemande
- III. Courante
- IV. Sarabande
- V. Gavotte
- VI. Gigue
- I. Prelude
- II. Little Fugue
- III. Valse Caprice
- IV. Madrigal
- V. Tartar March
- VI. Lullaby
- VII. Pastoral
- Prelude to last act
- Ballad: The Mountain Snow
- March for a festive occasion
- All Suddenly John Tallis Rupert Chawner Brooke
- Lullaby John Tallis Thomas Dekker
- Chigi's Song John Tallis
Sonata for solo piano John Tallis
Suite in eighteenth century style John Tallis
Seven pieces for piano John Tallis
Incidental music: Edward II John Tallis