Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Stephen DODGSON (b. 1926)
Ode to the Guitar (1991) [16:59]
Legend (1977) [7:00]
The Midst of Life (1994) [10:01]
Stemma (1988) [9:04]
Partita No. 1 (1963) [9:46]
Fantasy-Divisions (1969) [8:20]
Merlin (1979) [9:06]
Roberto Morón Pérez (guitar)
rec. 20–22 September 2010, Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Hertfordshire, UK
CADENZA MUSIC CACD0211 [70:26]

Experience Classicsonline



Cadenza Music is a publisher specialising in contemporary chamber music with a heavy bias towards the guitar. The company also produces CDs, originally to promote in-house composers and publications, but now ranging more widely.

The British composer Stephen Dodgson has composed for the guitar for most of his career. He has written works for the most eminent guitarists; collectors will know, for example, his Guitar Concerto No. 1 in the recording by John Williams. Curiously, he does not play the guitar himself, but, as he explains in the excellent booklet note by Stephen Goss, he sees this as an advantage rather than a handicap. Thinking of the guitar as a harmonic instrument rather than a melody instrument is, he asserts, a mistake that “leads the innocent into writing too many notes.” This seems as good an indicator as any of his music in general. Concise, even spare, there is not one note too many, anywhere. Harmonies can be astringent, but tonality is always kept well within view. Getting to know his music reveals the underlying strain of “gentle melancholy” to which he himself refers below, and getting to know it amply repays the effort required.

The Partita, the first of four, was Dodgson’s first guitar work, and was composed for John Williams who also recorded it. Most serious guitar music enthusiasts will already be familiar with the work, and it is difficult to imagine a newcomer not responding favourably to it. Its four movements represent a short but comprehensive exploration of the world of the guitar, its singing quality exploited almost throughout, and even, rare enough in this composer’s music, an occasional excursion into a Spanish, strumming style. Fantasy-Divisions from six years later is just as accomplished and just as attractive. The theme – Fantasy – and the third of the five variations – Divisions – are calm and reflective, whereas the other short movements are more energetic, twangy, and, at the very end, rather dramatic.

The legend in the piece of that name is, according to the composer, “a tale told by an old man…now forward, now intense, now distant and solitary; the whole always lyrical, sometimes decorative, just occasionally declamatory, and often tinged with gentle melancholy.” It is a lovely piece, and certainly packs all these elements into its short duration.

Many collectors will know Edwin Muir’s poem The Horses, if only from school anthologies. Merlin seeks to evoke the spirit of lines from another of Muir’s poems. Two themes recur, developed and modify at each return, and as the piece progresses violent elements intrude, rather more violent than we are used to with this composer. I haven’t yet established in my own mind the rapport between the verse and the music, but the piece has sent me back, with a lot of pleasure and not a little nostalgia, to The Horses! [It may also be recalled that The Horses was set by Hugh Wood and recorded on Lyrita - Ed.].

Stemma is a set of free variations on a series of tiny motifs announced at the outset. From it’s pithy opening, through a series of more dramatic passages and culminating in the quiet, rather restrained and sad, yet major key close, this seems to me a totally successful exploration of the possibilities of the instrument, as satisfying to play – I feel sure – as it is to listen to.

The most immediately attractive music on the disc is probably the title piece, Ode to the Guitar. This series of ten short pieces was composed in collaboration with the celebrated guitar teacher, Hector Quine, and was, we learn from the notes, “designed to provide musically challenging concert music that didn’t demand a high level of virtuosity”. In this, it succeeds admirably. Each piece has its own attractions. The opening, title piece, for example, makes very attractive use of a six-note motif. “Drowsyhead” is particularly well named, and the sharp dissonances and buzzing figuration of “Hornet’s Nest” would lead us to the same observation. And listening to the sweet serenade that is “O Pussy my Love!” we are reminded that Edward Lear’s Owl was himself an accomplished musician, singing his devotion “to a small guitar”.

Four of the pieces on this disc are receiving their first recordings. One of them is The Midst of Life. This was written in memory of Tim Stevenson, a composer and teacher of composition at the Purcell School, who died at the age of thirty-two. There is tremendous sadness in this piece, as is to be expected, but great seriousness of purpose too, as if the work is as much a tribute to its dedicatee as an act of mourning. And in the central passage there is unmistakeable anger, an emotion that sounds almost foreign in this composer’s output, but which here is totally convincing. In its short span, only ten minutes, this deeply felt work is surely a masterpiece.

The performances, by the young Spanish guitarist Roberto Morón Pérez, are beyond praise. He makes a wonderful sound, sharp and edgy where required, and rich and sonorous elsewhere. Articulation is clean and clear. The composer was co-producer of the disc, so we can be sure that both performances and the excellent sound are what he was aiming for.

Seventy minutes of solo guitar music by a single composer inevitably lacks something in terms of variety and contrast. It would be a mistake, I think, to sit down and listen to this disc from beginning to end. But choose one piece and you will be hooked.

William Hedley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.