> BUSH Violin Concerto [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 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

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 pellucid diaphony.

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 delay.

Rob Barnett


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