Peter FRIBBINS(b.1969) String Quartet No.2 After Cromer (2005-06) [19:03] A Haydn Prelude (2009) [2:46]
Piano Concerto (2010) [30:45]
Fantasias for viola and piano Nos. 1 and 2 (2007-11) [11:11]
Anthony Hewitt (piano: Fantasias, Prelude)
Diana Brekalo (piano: concerto)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Robertas šervenikas (concerto)
Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola)
rec. November 2010, St Silas Church, Chalk Farm, London (Quartet);
April 2011, Cadogan Hall, London (Concerto); August 2011, The Orangery,
Trent Park, Middlesex University (Prelude, Fantasias)
GUILD GMCD 7381 [64:32]
The music of Peter Fribbins can be heard over a wide range of forms in this
disc, from a solo piano prelude to a full-scale piano concerto.
To add a string quartet and fantasias for viola and piano ensures
that he is represented by a portfolio of compositions that showcases
his highly communicative but never wholly straightforward music.
The String Quartet builds on the old hymn Cromer, an
organ prelude on which Fribbins had written some time before
this 2006 quartet. It’s a rather fascinating work, profuse
with incident, cannily establishing the hymn tune over supporting
pizzicati. There is warm writing in the slow movement,
each voice richly characterised, followed immediately by a taut,
lively scherzo. Energetically launched, as the finale develops
we hear the emergence of another venerable hymn, For those
in Peril On the Sea.
A Haydn Prelude was written jointly for John McCabe’s
70th birthday and for the commemoration of Haydn’s
bicentenary - the felicitous joining of pianist and composer
won’t be lost on those who collected McCabe’s monumental
and pioneering complete Haydn sonata recordings. It’s
a thoughtful, reflective piece but hints suggestively too, albeit
The Piano Concerto was written in 2010. This performance at
the Cadogan Hall in London was its world premiere. This work,
in contrast to the brief Prelude, is cast on a wide canvass
lasting half an hour. Once again construction and development
are keys to the success of the work. It opens rather sullenly
but soon erupts with purpose and power, full of contrast and
colour. The solo piano’s ruminative paragraphs, some archaic-inclining,
conjure up evocative sound pictures in the mind, and are finely
played by Diana Brekalo. The oboe melody in the slow movement
doesn’t sound remotely like the oboe solo in the slow
movement of Brahms’ Violin Concerto but it serves a similar
expressive point and adds to the cumulative sense of resolution
and repose found by the piano. Lyrical and warm, the finale
is pushed on by powerful brass writing, revisits earlier material,
and reaches a rather abrupt, decisive end.
The Fantasias take two folk tunes, one Welsh and one Hungarian,
and make great play with them. I detect the influence of Britten’s
Lachrymae in the first and I can hear cimbalon imitation
in the second.
Fribbins has much to say musically speaking, and he has been
very well served by the thoughtful and imaginative soloists
here, and by the recordings in various venues.
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