> Alan Bush Violin Concerto [PGW]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Alan BUSH (1900-1995)
Violin Concerto (1948) [28.54]
Six Short Pieces (1983) [8.57]
Dialectic (1929) [14.12]
Manoug Parikian (violin)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Norman Del Mar
rec. BBC Maida Vale, Studio 1, 22 Nov 1983 (concerto)
Alan Bush (piano)
rec The Art Workers Guild, Queens Square, Holborn, London, 11 May 1984 (Six Short Pieces)
Medici String Quartet
rec Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London 17 July 1984 (Dialectic)
CLAUDIO CB5151-2 [52.05]
Claudio Records


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A welcome reissue of Hyperion’s 1985 LP of works representing Alan Bush at his best has been achieved by the Alan Bush Music Trust, with assistance from the RVW Trust and donations from numerous named individuals. Bush had a long and chequered career (banned by the BBC for his political views briefly, until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union). His operas enjoyed many successful professional productions in the G.D.R. and the U.S.S.R. but have been little seen in UK. Although his music is uneven, Bush’s continued neglect is undeserved; this is strong music, even though it eschews the latest fashions.

The invigorating Dialectic (1929) was included in a centenary concert reviewed in S&H. It treats five main themes, developed and recapitulated in combination with one another, and is intellectually satisfying (there is a more recent recording of it by the Bochmann Quartet Redcliffe RR013 (1997). The late piano pieces are modest in pianistic demands and interesting – I look forward to playing them. The Violin Concerto (1948) is as good as any of the period. It is a major work playing continuously for nearly half an hour and should be a contender for revival by younger violinists wanting something different for their repertoires.

All the performances are entirely satisfactory and the transfer is excellent. There is a biographical note by his daughter which begins, rather improbably – ‘Dr Alan Bush was born in London on 22 December 1900’ and it is a pity that Peter Lamb’s rather defensive and old-fashioned 1985 note for Hyperion, with its ‘the afore-mentioned stylistic change - - ‘, ‘there can be no doubt - -’, ‘an undoubted masterpiece - -’ etc, redolent of special pleading, was reprinted, as it could be off-putting for younger listeners and raise reviewers’ hackles!

Everything you could possibly wish to know about Alan Bush, including the dates and venues of recording (and too the provenance of this re-release, which is not acknowledged by Claudio) is to be found on the comprehensive and elegant Alan Bush Music Trust website, a model of its kind.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also review by Rob Barnett

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