One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements



TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


FOGHORN Classics


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Christopher GUNNING (b. 1944)
Sonata for Pianoforte (2014) [26:55]
Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano (2014) [27:24]
Diana Brekalo (piano)
London Piano Trio
rec. 5-6 July 2015, Potton Hall, Studios
DISCOVERY MUSIC & VISION DMV117 [54:19]

Here are two comparative recent works by a composer we have come to know through his orchestral works. He spared no expense in starting at the ambitious end of the scale with CDs of symphonies 1 (with piano concerto - review), 3/4 (review ~ review), 5 (review) and 6/7 (review). The Symphony for Brass Band: Yorkshire Glory was recorded and emerged on CD some years ago (review). I missed out on that and whatever happened to the Second Symphony? There's an Eighth as well. Three of Gunning's concertos can be heard on a Discovery CD (review) as can his Saxophone Concerto On Hungerford Bridge (review) issued by ASV. He made his way for many years through writing music for cinema and the small screen and Chandos have a splendid collection from that genre (review ~ review).

Gunning was a pupil of Edmund Rubbra and of Richard Rodney Bennett. The Piano Sonata is in five contrasted movements - three fast and two slow, alternating fast and slow. This music is not difficult to come to terms with. Gunning presents us with no obstacles. The language in the Sonata strikes me as related to that of Frank Bridge's Piano Sonata. There's an angularity there but blended with the motoric aspects of the Prokofiev wartime sonatas and something close to the unbrookable energy of Conlon Nancarrow. The two slow movements are tenderly affecting - almost but not quite elegiac. The performance - by the dedicatee and champion of the work - feels utterly centred and fluent. The four movement Trio was written for the London Piano Trio. Again the idiom and the performance is engaging. The first movement was written after a visit to Ravel's house at Montfort l'Amaury. A conscious tribute to the French composer, this movement is crystal clear and speaks in fervent Ravelian tones. Walking with Alan recalls the young Gunning's walks with Alan Bush. It seems to capture the older composer's busy brilliance and even his abrasion in a manner that glimpses grandeur. There's also something of John Ireland, Bush's teacher, in these pages. The third movement is entitled Faded Photographs. Here the music was prompted by browsing family photos. What we hear is not all happy and poignant; some of the memories unearthed are, as the composer says, "tinged with regret" and even brusquely disturbing; how could it be otherwise? The finale — A Family Argument — is rife with irritation, a ruthlessly insistent energy and even nobility as well as a searching rapturous Howells-like quality. The ending is low key - a musical wink, perhaps.

The sound quality on this disc is direct, unmisted and warm. The economical liner-notes are by the composer. The Violin Concerto and the Cello Concerto were recorded in late September 2015 by Harriet Mackenzie (violin) and Richard Harwood (cello). The Royal Philharmonic are conducted by the composer. I look forward to hearing them.

Rob Barnett



 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

 

Recordings of the Month

January


Linda BUCKLEY
From Ocean’s Floor

December


Conner Riddle Songs


Rodzinski Sibelius


Of Innocence and Experience

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3