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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


CELEBRATION
William MATHIAS
(1934 - 1992)
 : Clarinet Sonatina Op.3 (1956, rev. 1976)
Alun HODDINOTT
(b. 1929)
 : Clarinet Sonata No.2 (1997)
Mervyn BURTCH
(b. 1929)
 : Prelude, Arioso and Dance (1991)
Christopher PAINTER
(b. 1962)
 : Clarinet Sonata (1999)
John METCALF
(b. 1946)
 : Airstream (1997)
Peryn Clement-Evans (clarinet) ; Harvey Davies (piano)
Recorded : St Mary's Church, Cilcain, North Wales, June 1999
CYFOS CYFC01 CD
[56:19]
This disc may be ordered from
peryn@ensemblecymru.co.uk
Casgliad Cerdd Siambr Cymru
Cemlyn
Cilcain
Yr Wyddgrug
Sir y Fflint CH7 5NH

The late William Mathias's Sonatina Op.3 is a quite early work written during his student years at the R.A.M. Though it was quite frequently heard in the late 1950s, it was only published in 1976 with slight revisions. This short, colourful work already has most Mathias fingerprints: rhythmic agility in the quick movements, songlike tunefulness in the meditative slow movement, assured instrumental craftsmanship. A happy work in every aspect, and a most welcome first recording.

Alun Hoddinott's vast output includes a good deal of chamber music among which - besides eleven piano sonatas (at the last count) - sonatas for violin, cello and two clarinet sonatas, of which the second was written in 1997 for the present performers. It is a somewhat more serious piece than Mathias's Sonatina; but it is tuneful, accessible and as superbly crafted as any Hoddinott piece.

Mervyn Burtch may be somewhat lesser-known than either Hoddinott or Mathias, and his music has not yet been given its due. (His delightful overture Aladdin has recently been recorded on Marco Polo 8.225048.) His Prelude, Arioso and Dance was composed in 1991. The Prelude contrasts a rhythmic, percussive piano part with a more relaxed clarinet role, whereas the beautiful Arioso has a darker, elegiac mood which the concluding Dance heartily dispels. A very enjoyable piece. We should hear more of Mervyn Burtch's music.

Christopher Painter's music is new to me and his finely wrought Clarinet Sonata of 1999 is a nice novelty. It is laid-out in three concise movements never outstaying their welcome. The central Lento cantabile, yet another song without words, is particularly fine.

The music of John Metcalf is also new to me and his Airstream of 1997, again in three short, colouful movements, is undoubtedly a jolly good piece of music that should become a popular encore. It provides a playful conclusion to this most welcome release.

Peryn Clement-Evans, who has been closely associated with these pieces, plays with assurance, commitment and affection. He and Harvey Davies obviously enjoy the music and so do we.

It seems that this highly commendable release is the first of a series of recordings of Welsh chamber music. I, for one, hope that this generous project will be fully carried out and I certainly look forward to hearing the forthcoming releases. Recommended.

  Hubert CULOT

www.aubade.freeserve.co.uk.

www.orianapublications.co.uk



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