Climbing the Skies
Chamber music by Elgar, Huw Watkins and Vaughan Williams
The Aronowitz Ensemble, comprising seven young soloists, has attracted an enthusiastic following – not least as part of the BBC’s New Generation Artists scheme – for its recitals at Aldeburgh, the Wigmore Hall and elsewhere. And no wonder: this enterprising CD debut breathes sensitivity and purpose.
The programme is a beautiful one, linked by a clearly identifiable national lineage. First up is Vaughan Williams’ early Phantasy Quintet for two violins, two violas and cello – a spirited English pastorale with a slow movement in VW’s wistful vein. Then comes Sad Steps, a new work for string sextet and piano by Huw Watkins (born 1976), that meditates on English music of the past within a sequence of dance-like forms: it’s so subtly achieved that you can’t tell where nostalgia ends and invention begins. Elgar’s autumnal Piano Quintet makes a fitting climax.