This is a straight reissue of the Hyperion LP which
was issued in the Götterdämmerung of the LP in about 1985.
It had the briefest of shelf-lives rather like the other ex-Hyperion
Claudio revival, the Anthony Milner orchestral works.
The Medici take Bush's single movement string quartet
and make a vital and virile job of it. At just short of a quarter of
an hour it does not outstay its welcome. Dialectic sounds
like a star in explosive self-communion. It is not an angry or hectoring
work rather it barrels up to you with the drastically wild-eyed energy
of Tippett's Double Concerto touched with Bach's paschal calm
and the radiance of ever-renewing resurrection. This is one of the finest
works in British chamber music; to be counted in the company of John
Foulds' Quartetto Intimo (on Pearl) and Cello Sonata (on the
British Music Society label), Arnold Bax's Piano Quintet (Chandos),
Robert Simpson's middle period quartets (Hyperion), the York Bowen string
quartets (British Music Society) and the Arthur Benjamin Viola Sonata
(Pearl and Tall Poppies). Overwhelmingly exciting stuff. The instantly
accessible Six Short Pieces show Bush as the fine pianist
he was in folk-inflected essays (a little Holst in this) which combine
joy and backbone. Again this is the sort of repertoire that should appeal
to Phillip Dyson and Jack Gibbons.
The Violin Concerto resonates with chaffing
and petulant voices from Shostakovich and Rawsthorne (their first violin
concertos). This is a boisterous work; not in the mould of the Moeran
nor yet the Frankel. It is not dissonant but equally this has none of
the languid sighing pastoral ecstasy of Vaughan Williams or Howells
or Julius Harrison. This work has a full array of delicate fantasy which
in the outer movements strays into romance or something as close to
romance as I have heard from Bush. And it works very well indeed. Bush’s
musical cousin Alan Rawsthorne (a fellow traveller in their early 1960s’
trip to the then USSR) would lead you down melodious paths and sour
them with reality. Bush embraces the melody in full and dresses it with
This is complemented by detailed discographical information.
A delight to see it presented with such exemplary clarity.
Do not be put off by political subtexts . They are
as irrelevant to the appreciation of these works as the sort of way-marker
quotes you find in nineteenth century tone poems. If you heard Dialectic
with an completely innocent hear you would be won over without struggle.
Thanks are due to both Hyperion and Claudio for making
this happen. We should also thank the 130 sponsors listed on the back
of the booklet and the RVW and Bush Trusts.
The note is the Hyperion original by Andrew Lamb supplemented
by a biographical article by Dr Rachel O'Higgins.
Personally I will not be satisfied until we have fine,
sympathetic and vivid recordings of the opera The Sugar Reapers (written
1961-64 and would pair wonderfully with Malcolm Williamson's Our
Man in Havana), the Nottingham (1949), Byron (1960)
and Lascaux (1983) symphonies and primus supra omnia the
hour long Piano Concerto (1937).
Do snap this up while you can still find it. Do not
Claudio Records, BN10 8PU UK
++44 (0)1273 580250
ALAN BUSH MUSIC TRUST
7 Harding Way
CAMBRIDGE CB4 9JH