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British Light Music Premieres Volume Five
Roy BUDD (1947-1993)
1. Tricolor Overture (1988) (reconstructed Adam Langston) [6:14]
Francis CHAGRIN (1905-1972)
2. Aquarelles (Portraits of Five Children) (1950) [5:26]
Paul CARR (b.1961)
3. Concerto for oboe and string orchestra (2007) [17:25]
4. Air for strings (2006) [10:30]
Gavin SUTHERLAND (b.1972)
5. Clarinet Concerto (2003) [19:11]
Richard ADINSELL (1904-1977)
6. Suite: Ring Round the Moon (1949) (reconstructed Philip Lane) [20:25]
Nicholas Daniel (oboe); Verity Butler (clarinet)
Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland (1-3, 5), Barry Wordsworth (4)
BBC Concert Orchestra/Roderick Dunk (6)
rec. Angel Studios, London March 2008 (1); July 2007 (2,5); January 2007 (3); March 2007 (4): Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford February 2008 (6)
DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7209 [79:37]
Experience Classicsonline

The fifth volume of this series continues the good work. That said it has rather an idiosyncratic line-up. Budd’s curtain-raising overture is followed by a work, by Francis Chagrin, originally written for piano, and then by two concertos, an extended Air for strings and finally by Addinsell’s suite written for a play and heard here in a reconstructed version by Philip Lane. Plenty of explaining to do then.
 
Roy Budd knew how to ply a fine tune. His Tricolor overture was composed in 1988, five years before his early death. It’s an engaging affair replete with chirpy quotations from a French Revolutionary song. Springy and unpretentious, it too has had some remedial work carried out, because it’s heard in a reconstruction made by Adam Langston; the score is lost so Langston took the whole thing down from a surviving tape of a broadcast performance conducted by Budd. 
 
Chagrin’s Aquarelles are deft and touching little character studies originally of three specific children but then he added two more so listeners could find more in the quintet of pieces. They are very brief and range from frolicsome to more introverted and on to wistfully expressive, which is No. IV, my favourite of the set.
 
Paul Carr contributes two pieces. He was born in Cornwall in 1961 and has had a varied career thus far, writing for film, television and concert hall – and he also paints. His Concerto was dedicated to Nicholas Daniel who plays with typical eloquence throughout. This is a snappy work with slightly neo-classical leanings. In the ruminative B section of the first movement I was reminded slightly of Walter Leigh. The slow movement is a reflective meditation with a brief, central rising of tension and it ends with the oboe shadowed by a string line. This rapt movement was inspired by the dying of the composer’s mother. The finale is airy and aerated with conciliatory gestures. It’s a delightful work – compact, deftly scored, full of engaging lyric lines and that slow movement is especially moving. His Air for Strings is a warm, romantic cantilena and makes a good pendant for the concerto.
 
The other concerto is that for Clarinet by Gavin Sutherland. This again is played by the dedicatee, Verity Butler. This is a more straightforward affair than Carr’s work – bright, breezy and in the best ‘Light Music’ tradition, in which sense it conforms to Dutton’s series rubric rather more than the Oboe Concerto. There’s a delightfully tuneful Song without Words and a rather tongue in cheek – as it were – Scherzo. Sutherland doesn’t neglect to write a testing cadenza either.
 
The final work was written by Addinsell and was reconstructed by Philip Lane in 2008 from the tapes that exist of the score and which are hired out to theatre companies staging Ring Around the Moon. This is a Jean Anouilh play, remembered best from its post War staging in London by Peter Brook in a performance starring Paul Schofield. There are eight engaging dance movements, all pretty brief. There’s a good role for the piano in the prelude, and there’s a peppy little Two-Step with some percussive bash to keep everyone on their toes. Pertly done all round.
 
With the typically informative notes, and witty artwork – not to mention highly idiomatic performances - you can purchase with confidence.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 
British Light Music Premieres on Dutton - reviews
Vol. 2 - CDLX7151
Vol. 4 - CDLX7190

see John France's article on the Air for Strings by Paul Carr

 


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