This is the second Christopher Ball disc to come my way. The
first included the very attractive Clarinet
. There is also an anthology of his work on the Pavane
The Violin Concerto is his seventh concerto. His last two (cello
and horn) are to be recorded this year (2009). The work brims
with life and sings very broadly speaking in an English pastoral
idiom. It's a big confident voice aided here by a recording that
has no false modesty. After an elegiac Largo in which a cargo
of irresistible and dappled regret is carried back and forward
from orchestral strings to woodwind. The final Allegro
and capers with the uninhibited rhythmic drive of the Irish fiddler.
This is intensified by the in-your-face recording balance.
The Five Bagatelles
for wind trio move from a sauntering
cheeky Poulencian Humoresque
to a singing Pastorale
a hiccupping carousel Waltz
, to Mozartean A la baroque
a playful Country Dance
. This is a modern cassation or
The delectable five movements that make up From the Hebrides
the Hebridean song-settings of Eddie McGuire. Paul Arden-Taylor
plays recorder, cor anglais and recorder. Graceful woodwind and
slowly glittering harp figures pay tribute to Ball's early affection
for the Hebridean settings by Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser.
After the Celtic far periphery it seems a natural fall of the
trajectory to come to the Celtic Twilight
. Noises that
hurt not and more ... noises that charm. It is a delight that
there is room for such music in the catalogue. The balance and
closely breathy embrace of the studio tends towards the claustrophobic.
However the music swells agreeably to meet the pleasingly close
humidity of this sound image.
Deeply attractive music - an instant winner.