Mention the name ‘Goossens’ in music circles today and the response is usually to recall Leon Goossens, the famous oboist, or perhaps Sidonie Goossens, the legendary harpist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Their equally distinguished brother, Eugene Goossens, seems largely forgotten, or if remembered, it is as a conductor, rather than as a composer.
Yet, during his lifetime (1893-1962), his music was championed by musicians of the stature of Jascha Heifetz and John Barbirolli. Goossens, in turn, not only demonstrated a passionate interest in the music of his contemporaries, with early performances in this country of works by Stravinsky, but was also a strong advocate of the music of other British composers, including Bax, Delius, Moeran, Vaughan Williams, particularly while holding important conducting posts in the USA and Australia. It is therefore all the more surprising and disappointing that his music is now so neglected.
Violinist Robert Gibbs and pianist Gusztáv Fenyő have sought to reverse this trend in a new CD for Naxos to mark the 50th anniversary of Goossens’s death. The disc offers the composer’s complete violin/piano works and is the first to do so on a single CD.
Both artists are well-versed in British music, Gibbs having recorded the complete violin/piano works of Bax (ASV) and Fenyő, with Susanne Stanzeleit, those of Delius (Naxos), together with a mixed disc of violin works by Bantock, Dunhill and Stanford, Goossens’s teacher (Cala/Portrait/Regis).
Full information about this new CD, including audio clips, booklet notes and details of how to purchase a copy, can be found in our CDs section. We do hope you will take a few moments to discover this music for yourself.
‘Of the British composers/conductors Goossens is the one who wrote most consistently interesting and challenging music…’ (Nick Barnard, MusicWeb International, June 2012)
‘Gibbs is simply perfect for this material, technically stunning, with a warm, sweet, lyrical sound… Fenyő is every bit his equal, especially in the demanding second sonata.’ (Terry Robbins, The Whole Note, May 2012)