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Clarinet Kaleidoscope
Gavin SUTHERLAND (b.1972)

The Lounge Suite (2002); Nostalgia (arrangements); In Party Mood (arr from Jack Strachey - original 1942)
David FANSHAWE (b.1942)

Serenata (Mother and Child)
Reginald HUNT (b.1891-1982)

Meditation (1947)
Gilbert VINTER (b.1909-1969)

Song and Dance (1961)
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)

Canto Popolare (In the Moonlight) (1904)
Philip LANE (b.1950)

Three Spanish Dances (1981)
Frederick KELL (1871-1950)

A Graceful Tune; A Humorous Fantasy; An Autumn Tune; Moods (1933).
Terence GREAVES (b.1933)

Clarinet Cakewalk (1989)
Verity Butler (clarinet)
Gavin Sutherland (piano)
rec. The Downs School, Great Malvern, Sept 2002. DDD
British Composer Series
CAMPION CAMEO 2022 [67.14]

 

This is a light music recital recorded in a lively acoustic with the piano rendered in rather stonily resonant tones.

Gavin Sutherland is a conductor who has been pivotal in the blooming British light music scene. This has rubbed off on this three movement composition which is in a patois that is sly, laid-back, mildly bluesy, jazzy, relaxed and free of anxiety.

David Fanshawe's African Sanctus put him on the map in the 1970s. His Serenata is calming and gentle. It would be nice to hear this in its version with orchestra.

Reginald Hunt's Meditation is more Brahmsian - an unbuttoned Stanford. Gilbert Vinter was a force to be reckoned with in British light music. His succinct Song and Dance sequence is again carefree but more folk inflected than any of the other pieces. I loved the unhalting flow of Verity Butler's playing in Second Song. The final song and dance movement is quirky and smacks of the music hall. Canto Popolare by Elgar will be well known within a few moments. It is the liquidly cradled lullaby-inflected serenade from the centre of the otherwise wildly impulsive concert overture In the South. It is most lovingly done. I see from the excellent notes that Elgar consulted Charles Draper over the adaptation of this piece.

Philip Lane has also played a decisive role in the light music revival. His work is in evidence on both Naxos and ASV CDs. His Spanish Dances range from the quick Malaguena (lovely playing again at 1.01 onwards where Ms Butler brings out the poignant tone of the oboe original). The Habanera is spiced with the odd surprising dissonance and a decidedly bluesy slide and sidle. I liked this sequence very much indeed.

Then come the Frederick Kell pieces. His son was Reginald Kell whose Lonely Shepherd Reginald recorded for Decca. Frederick’s four pieces are full of grace and are grateful to the instrument. Kell's An Autumn Tune and Moods have a fantastic dreamy engagement … at times Delian but with less pallor and with a more mercurial vigour.

Terence Greaves has been active as principal at the RNCM and as a teacher at Birmingham Conservatoire. His Clarinet Cakewalk is throwaway and debonair.

Back to Gavin Sutherland, this time as the arranger for the last two tracks. Nostalgia is a medley of ‘classics’ such as The Very Thought of You which segues with ease into the masterly A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square by Eric Maschwitz (1901-1969). It is so lovingly shaped by Verity Butler - try 4.23 onwards. After that Ivor Novello's Shine Through My Dreams comes as a bit of a let-down. Sutherland's gift for arrangement comes further in his arrangement of Jack Strachey's In Party Mood - one of those tunes you know but cannot often put a name to. It was the signature tune of the radio programme Housewife's Choice which will be familiar to a certain generation - at least in the U.K.

Rob Barnett

 


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