President: Mary Alwyn
Patron: Vilem Tausky CBE

Cover Painting: Portrait of my Wife by William Alwyn


Doreen Carwithen (b. 1922)

Overture: ODTAA
(One Damn Thing After Another)
Allegro ma non troppo
Concerto for Piano and Strings
I Allegro assai
II Lento
III Moderato e deciso ma con moto
Overture: Bishop Rock
Allegro con energico
Suffolk Suite
I Prelude: Moderato
II Orford Ness: Allegretto grazioso
III Suffolk Morris: Ritmico
IV Framlingham Castle: Alla marcia
Howard Shelley piano
London Symphony Orchestra
Igor Gruppmann leader
Richard Hickox conductor

See also a personal review of this recording from Scott Morrison

Doreen Carwithen: Orchestral Works

Suffolk Suite (1964)
This was written at the request of the music master of Framlingham College, Suffolk for the boys to perform when royalty came to open their new concert hall. Before composing I listened to the school orchestra so as to hear the capabilities of the young performers and was constantly aware of these as I wrote. are four movements which develop tunes I originally used in a film about East Anglia.
I The Prelude begins with a trumpet fanfare which is followed by a stately tune on the strings, befitting a royal occasion.
II Orford Ness - a peaceful, rocking movement, reminding listeners of the yachts at anchor, accompanies the tune, played first on the solo flute, then on the strings, the oboe and finally the clarinet.
III Suffolk Morris. The dancers, wearing traditional costumes decorated with ribbons and bells, begin a lively dance in 6/8 rhythm A brief, slower section (a long tune on solo woodwind accompanied by chords on the harp) allows them to get their breath back before the side drum sounds the dance rhythm and off they go again, through the market square and down the High Street.
IV March: Framlingham Castle. The brass introduce a stirring march, summoning picture of the moated ruins of this superb, Norman castle, which still dominates the town and surrounding countryside.

ODTAA - One Damn Thing After Another (1945)
The title ODTAA was suggested by the novel of that name by John Masefield. The music is in no sense programmatic, but I have attempted to express in music the colour, excitement and romantic spirit of adventure that is the essence of the book.

The Overture begins (Allegro ma non troppo) with a vigorous statement of the main theme on the strings. From this theme most of the material used throughout is derived and developed. A climax is reached with a fanfare- like statement of this subject, followed by a short, accented passage for brass and percussion. The music then quietens to a tranquil middle section which builds to a broad climax. The initial tempo returns, and after a rhythmic recapitulation, the Overture ends, with the fanfare theme played by the full orchestra.

Bishop Rock (1952)
The Bishop Rock lighthouse stands at the furthermost point of England. Its lonely tower is the last sight the seafarer has of land, and, to the traveller from the New World, is a symbol of welcome after the bleak waters of the Atlantic. The Overture is an impression of the thoughts stimulated by the lighthouse and depicts Bishop Rock in storm and calm.

It begins with a strong repeated motive on the horns, which suggests the intermittent flashing of the light over a stormy sea. After a brief exposition, this is followed by a long phrase on the violins accompanied by horns which rises and sinks like the surge of the Atlantic swell. The music grows to a climax and gradually subsides to a gentle transformation of the theme (which was first heard fortissimo on the strings at the climax) on the bass clarinet, then on the bassoons, the horns and finally a solo violin. It suggests the sea gently lapping against the rocks. A rhythmic figure on the cellos and basses disturbs the calm and the music develops to a strong recapitulation of the 'lighthouse' theme.

The Concerto for Piano and Strings was completed in 1948 and contains much vigorous, brilliant writing for the soloist set against a sensitive use of the strings. The first movement Allegro assai has two subjects, The first, announced immediately by the piano in octaves, grows into a whole section in which it receives a variety of treatment. After a morendo the soloist then introduces the second subject, which is immediately followed by a quasi-cadenza. The two themes, developed and recapitulated, bring the movement to a close.
The slow movement, Lento, begins with the solo violin announcing a melody which is echoed by the piano. Their duet continues throughout the movement, accompanied by muted strings.
The Finale, Moderato e deciso ma con moto, is introduced by a broad, chordal melody played by the strings against a rising scale passage on the piano. These two ideas form the main material for the whole movement. It ends with an extended cadenza followed by a coda which states again the broad melody of the main theme.

© 1997 Doreen Carwithen

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