The 1910s were a period of extraordinary turbulence and change. Revolutions and war left monarchies and empires fallen and the social order irreversibly altered. The music on this album emerges from various points in that eventful decade, but all of it records vividly a world that was shortly to vanish forever – a world to which the year 1919 was already a coda.
Indeed, the pieces chosen by Benjamin Baker and Daniel Lebhardt for their second Delphian recording also speak from a decade of musical endings. Claude Debussy and Lili Boulanger both died in 1918, two extraordinary careers cut short early; Baker and Lebhardt’s programme includes some of their last works. Edward Elgar lived on for another fifteen years, but wrote little more to match the four major compositions which emerged from his pen in 1918 and 1919.
Leoš Janáček, by contrast, was about to enter an astonishing Indian summer of creativity; his violin sonata stands on the cusp, inspired by Janáček’s hopes that the war might lead to independence for his beloved Czech lands.