gather together four British concertos for the same instrument
was an excellent idea and continues a line of similar British
anthology projects by Sanctuary-ASV and others.
Gregson launches with a crashing Waltonian foreword before
a singing entry by the redoubtable James Gourlay. The music then
develops into a cheeky tramping cheeriness which leads to the
wanly sighing delight of the second movement. The strings and
then the tuba distantly echo the phrasing of Britten’s This
ae night from the Serenade. There is a certain eldritch
quality to this music. However those cobwebs are completely exorcised
by the British film music optimism of the finale. For all that
Gregson adds a light overlay of angst this is delightful music.
It’s good to hear more Gregson. Readers are referred to the review
of the all-Gregson Chandos disc.
Steptoe had several
recordings on the Phoenix LP label circa 1980 but then largely
dropped from sight. I was pleased to see his name again. His
Tuba Concerto is more Rawsthorne than RVW. I thought several
times about the Cortege or Street Corner overtures. The movements
follow the Delius-Moeran concerto template of Slow-fast-slow.
The atmospheric slow movements, especially the finale, feature
a cobweb of gentle and wistful dissonance with nostalgia sidling
in and out almost imperceptibly.
Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto
is well enough known. It was dedicated
to the LSO and was premiered by them
on 13 June 1954
with Philip Catelinet and John Barbirolli.
The first movement is given a pointed
and emphatic reading by Gourlay and
Sutherland. In the central Romance
I was struck by how strongly Finzian
is this string writing although the
solo is pure RVW. The Catelinet/Barbirolli
recording is in mono and historic sound.
John Fletcher’s RCA-BMG recording with
Previn and the dedicatee orchestra stands
tall even if it is more than three decades
old. This Naxos
version is in the same league as Fletcher.
urgency of the Golland reminded
me of the angularity of Bernstein and
even more of John Williams titles music
for the film Towering Inferno.
The adagio offers balm in the shape
of the bejewelled cinematic romance.
Listen out for those superbly eruptive
Out Of Africa style French horns.
The nonchalant finale has a devil-may-care
air and a Street Corner lyricism.
recording imparts a nice sense of distance and warmth to the
music . All the detailing is there but not too clinical.
compact British tuba concertos each in three movements. In each
case the tuba presents its character as stylish and lyrical singer
rather than yahoo buffoon.
See also Reviews
by Hubert Culot and Christopher