This is the latest in reissues on the Red Priest label. It was
recorded two decades ago and originally released on Upbeat Recordings.
It also features the original keyboard player in Red Priest,
the tragically short-lived Julian Rhodes (1964-2001).
As well as his interest in baroque music, recorder player Piers
Adams has explored twentieth-century repertoire, and indeed
beyond. Here he concentrates with Rhodes on British recorder
music - with the exception of the Lennox Berkeley, which was
written in 1939 - from the second half of the twentieth century.
Norman Fulton wrote his Scottish Suite for Carl Dolmetsch
in 1954.There is some picture postcard piquancy here, not least
little crunchy harmonies, that keep things alive. Oscillation
between fast and slow sections, and high lying registrations,
provide opportunities for both technical and expressive variety.
Romantic rolled piano chords heighten the warmth, whilst Fulton
ensures we go home happy with a very jolly Reel.
Rubbra could do zip as well; in his Second Violin Sonata he
almost gets frisky. But there’s no friskiness in the spiritually
elevated Meditazione Sopra Coeurs Désolés, a richly
unfolding series of variations composed in 1949. One sonata
in the repertoire of nearly all British recorder players is
York Bowen’s Op.121 of 1946. This is because of its especially
fresh character, its communicative and uncomplicated romanticism,
its well characterised three movements and its air of frolicsome
agility, none of which qualities relies on showiness to make
Berkeley’s terse Sonata essays an altogether different feeling.
Here, characteristically French-sounding fluidity is accompanied
by a restless tension, which reaches a forlorn, almost drained
peak in the slow movement. The finale is Poulenc-like and brief.
Edward Gregson’s1993 Matisse Impressions offer vivid
opportunities for the players: musing, reflective cadential
qualities in the first and stabbing piano writing in the third
in particular. Stephen Dodgson wrote Shine and Shade,
which gives its name to this disc, in 1975 and his craftsmanship
is never in doubt, nor indeed is the stylistically apt material.
Donald Swann’s 1982 Rhapsody from Within was written
for Dolmetsch to play with his long-time colleague Joseph Saxby.
It’s a delightful, light and uncomplicated affair, lyrical,
filmic in the central panel, and with a peppy 1930s feel in
It ends a winning recital, performed with brio and technical
assurance and captured in good sound. It’s certainly a recital
worthy of restoration.
see also review
by John France
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