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Over the Water: Music for Recorder and String Orchestra
Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911–1968)
Partita for recorder and string orchestra Op.13b (1939, orch. 1954) [10:00]
Gordon CROSSE (b. 1937)
Watermusic for recorder and string orchestra (1982, orch. 1988) [10:31]
Arthur BUTTERWORTH (b. 1923)
Rêverie Rêverie ('Farewell Manchester') op.113a for recorder, harp and string orchestra (2000, orch. 2005) [3:43]
Anthony HOPKINS (b. 1921)
Suite for recorder, string orchestra and harp (1952, orch. 2006) [6:07]
Francis JACKSON (b. 1917)
Moonrise for recorder and string orchestra (1999, orch. 2004) [5:07]
Arnold COOKE (1906–2005)
Divertimento for recorder and string orchestra (1959) [9:53]
Michael HURD (1928–2006)
Three-Piece Suite for recorder and string orchestra (2004) [4:39]
Anthony HEDGES (b. 1931)
Three Miniatures for recorder, strings, harp and percussion (2004, orch. 2005) [7:57]
Elis PEHKONEN (b. 1942)
Concerto “Over the Water” for recorder and string orchestra (2004) [18:15]
John Turner (recorder)
Louise Thomson (harp), Janet Fulton (percussion)
Manchester Camerata Ensemble/Philip Mackenzie
rec. Hallam Hall, Stockport Grammar School, 13-14 July 2006. DDD
This recording is affectionately dedicated to the memory of David Munrow, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death
premiere recordings
DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7191 [77:09]



In an review of a CD of various works for recorder and instrumental ensemble, I mentioned that John Turner might well be regarded as the Carl Dolmetsch of our time. He has played, recorded and commissioned - and still does - a number of new works for recorder by composers from a wide-range of musical horizons and generations. This new release is no exception.
 
Reizenstein’s Partita Op.13b is to some extent the link between Dolmetsch and Turner. It was composed for Dolmetsch, as was Cooke’s Divertimento. The Partita was originally written for recorder and piano; but the composer arranged it later for string trio. However, it seems that he envisaged a version for string orchestra, since there exist parts for second violin and double bass as well as a copy of the score with hand-written annotations to adapt the accompaniment for full string orchestra. This short Neo-classical work clearly bears the imprint of Reizenstein’s teacher, Hindemith, and none the worse for that, for this is a delightful work of great charm. Incidentally, this and Anthony Hopkins’ delightful Suite have been recorded by Ross Winters and Andrew Ball (on BMS425CD).
 
There was a time when Gordon Crosse’s music was well served in terms of commercial recordings, some of which are now available again on Lyrita. Then, very little of him was heard for many years, although an odd piece might pop-up again from time to time. Watermusic, dedicated to John Turner as are many of the other works in this selection, was also originally written for recorder and piano and arranged later for strings. It is in three short movements (Prelude, Barcarolle and Hornpipe) that never outstay their welcome.
 
It is always good to be able to hear some recent piece by Arthur Butterworth whose beautifully crafted music is still unjustly overlooked. A recording of all six of his symphonies is a priority. His short Rêverie Op.113a is based on the tune Farewell Manchester, a popular ballad at the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brief sojourn in Manchester. Originally written for recorder and piano, this very fine miniature was later scored for recorder, harp and strings.
 
As already mentioned earlier in this review, Anthony Hopkins’ delightful Suite has also been recorded by Ross Winters and Andrew Ball (on BMS425CD). John Turner suggested an orchestration of the work for strings and harp; but the composer did not feel able to prepare the full score that was actually notated by John Turner under the composer’s supervision.
 
Francis Jackson may be primarily known as an organist and a composer of finely crafted choral works; but here is Moonrise, a short impression for recorder and piano, composed in 1999 and arranged for string orchestra some time later. A beautifully atmospheric miniature.
 
Another pupil of Hindemith, the late Arnold Cooke enjoyed a long and prolific creative life. His huge and varied output includes works in almost every genre. Though indebted to Hindemith, Cooke’s music nevertheless managed to be individual, as the lovely Divertimento for recorder and strings heard here clearly shows. This lovely work is in three short and neatly contrasted movements, the whole displaying Cooke’s lighter vein in a most convincing way.
 
Michael Hurd’s Three-Piece Suite turned out to be his final work, completed in 2004. It is another charming set of three lighthearted miniatures.
 
Anthony Hedges is a versatile composer equally at ease with ‘serious’ concert music as well as with ‘lighter’ music, both displaying this composer’s remarkable craftsmanship. As many of the other works here, Three Miniatures were composed for recorder and piano. The composer was reluctant to transcribe it for string orchestra, but eventually took up the challenge. The result is another delightful piece in three colourful and neatly characterised movements.
 
The last work here – and the most substantial – is Elis Pehkonen’s Concerto “Over the Water”. The composer describes it as “a programmatic piece with Jacobite overtones”, because it “traces the history of the 45 from Bonnie Prince Charlie’s arrival at Moidart to the catastrophic battle of Culloden”. It is thus coincidentally linked to Butterworth’s Rêverie. The music does not set out to be descriptive à la Richard Strauss, but has many fine moments of atmospheric writing. The very opening of the first movement Gathering is a case in point. It reminded me of the first time I drove through Glencoe on a wet and misty day! The second movement Advance/Retreat is more overtly descriptive, whereas the final movement Over the Water is an epilogue based on Bonnie Prince Charlie’s tune, on which much of the music is actually founded in one way or another. It is a most welcome find; I had never heard a note of Pehkonen’s music.
 
John Turner and the Manchester Camerata play magnificently throughout. The whole is nicely recorded and the production is well up to Dutton’s best standards. Do not expect imperishable masterpieces here but you will find a most attractive selection of many finely wrought pieces. They make for genuinely pleasurable listening. I bet that you will end-up whistling some of the tunes.
 
Hubert Culot
 

And another perspective from Rob Barnett
 
Dutton know no fear: a stoutly packed CD of British works for recorder and orchestra - and only one of them termed 'concerto'.
 
Nuremberg-born Reizenstein became a well-established pillar of the 1940s and 1950s British music scene. The wan-delicate Bachian atmosphere of the first three movements of his Partita is dispelled by a carefree vigorous Holstian Jig.
 
Gordon Crosse has done well recently with a Lyrita CD of his Ariadne and Crossings just issued.  His Watermusic flows slowly with caramel rich ululation from the string orchestra. There is nothing here of the Reizenstein's Bachian levity or cantilena. This work mines a seam of lissom melancholia even in the eerie birdsong of the second movement (2:34).
 
Arthur Butterworth's Reverie - Farewell Manchester is a romantic piece with just a hint of Celtic lilt. The tune on which it is based and which gives the work its title refers to the ballad recounting Bonnie Prince Charlie's brief sojourn in that city.
 
Antony Hopkins' four movement Suite uses the same forces as the Butterworth. It has all the wisdom of melodic brevity and a typically English delight in woodwind. Light of heart and countenance this is music that can be related to the cheerful concertos of Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob (Hopkins' teacher) and Joseph Horovitz.
 
Moonrise by Francis Jackson was orchestrated by Robin Walker. It conveys, in a slightly chilled atmosphere, the moonlit landscape of North Yorkshire. Jackson was born at Malton and was organist at York Minster (1946-1982).
 
After the chilly light of the Jackson the Moeran-reminiscent Cooke Divertimento skips along chipper and flighty in its two outer movements. This, in contrast with the faintly lichen-gothic central movement, is touched with the same atmosphere as Goossens' By the Tarn. The finale with its Arnold-like 'hiccups' is redolent of 1950s film scores.
 
Anything by Michael Hurd is going to be worth hearing. His compact little Three-Piece-Suite is pleasing and memorable - maybe infused with sentimentality but none the worse for that. The first and third movements are beguilingly light of spirit and in the finale also touching (tr. 19, 0.47).
 
The very recent Three Miniatures by Anthony Hedges is another smiling confection, this time with some modest percussion including a tambourine in the first movement which sometimes sounds Spanish. The central movement trembles with  a clouded echo of Rawsthorne. Once again the finale is an impudent Arnoldian jackanapes of a molto vivace.
 
At just over 18 minutes Pehkonen's three movement concerto fascinates with its first movement bathed in a mild and foggy dissonance for the string orchestra. This carries over into the solo part. The quick central movement after the slow first establishes the slow-fast-slow pattern known from the Delius and Moeran concertos. Over the Water follows the history of the 45 - Bonnie Prince Charlie again! The finale gives its title to the whole work - it is misty with Highland dreams describing a general Gaelic curve to the quiet heartbeat of the music. There’s a noticeable if nicely understated skirl and a final regretful sigh.
 
Who better than John Turner - who continues and extends the renaissance of the recorder as a concert and studio voice - to provide the detailed 12 page essay covering in detail each of the works.
 
Atmospheric, chilly and cheerful and likely to appeal to anyone who enjoys the compact woodwind concertos of Malcolm Arnold. 
 
Rob Barnett
 

Also from Dutton:-
 
Various - British Recorder Concertos
Peter Hope Concerto (2003) for recorder, strings, harp & percussion “Birthday Concerto”
David Beck Flûte-à-Beck: Concerto (2002) for recorder, strings & harp
Hans Gál Concertino op.82 (1961) for recorder & string orchestra
David Ellis Divertimento Elegiaco (in memoriam Ida Carroll) op.54a for recorder, string orchestra, harp & marimba
Ian Parrott Sinfonia Concertante (2001-3) for recorder, solo violin, string orchestra & percussion
David Dubery Mrs Harris in Paris (2003-4) for recorder & string orchestra
John Turner (Recorder)
Camerata Ensemble/Philip McKenzie (conductor)
DUTTON CDLX 7154
 
Walter LEIGH - Chamber Works
Romance for Two Violins, Viola, Cello & Piano; Reverie for Violin & Piano (1922); Music for String Orchestra; Sonatina for Viola & Piano; Trio for Flute, Oboe & Piano (1935); Air for Treble Recorder & Piano; Three Movements for String Quartet (1930); Sonatina for Recorder & Piano; Student String Quartet
Locrian Ensemble
DUTTON CDLX 7143
 
Edmund Rubbra - The Complete Recorder Works
Rubbra: Meditazioni sopra ‘Cœurs Désolés’ op.67; Air & Variations for Pipes op.70; Fantasia on a Theme of Machaut op.86; Passacaglia sopra ‘Plusieurs Regrets’ op.113; Notturno op.106 (1960); Cantata Pastorale op.92;
Sonatina for Treble Recorder & Harpsichord op.128; Fantasia on a Chord op.154; Introduction, Aria & Fugue op.104; First Study Pieces for Treble Recorder & Keyboard op.118; Benjamin BRITTEN: Alpine Suite for Recorder Trio; March from ‘Gloriana’; Morris Dance from ‘Gloriana’; Scherzo for Recorder Quartet; Guillaume de MACHAUT Plus dure; Juan VASQUEZ En la fuente del rosel
The Flautadors; Dante Quartet
DUTTON CDLX 7142
 



 


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