Thursday, 27 March 2008

William Blezard: Duetto (1951)

A music reviewer has said that this Duetto is an interesting way to spend six minutes. And I wholeheartedly agree. This is one of these gorgeous works that makes one wonder why it has hardly been heard over the last half century. How can it have been hidden away on the library shelves for all this time? It was written in 1951 as a response to Blezard’s friend and fellow composer Clifton Parker’s suggestion that he [Blezard] needed to write music in a more contrapuntal manner. Parker is noted for his work on film music including The Blue Pullman, Treasure Island and Sink the Bismarck!

The Duetto is well scored for solo viola and cello accompanied by strings and makes extensive use of canon and other traditional devices. The work is pervaded by one of the composer’s lovely tunes that is quite spine tingling and stays with the listener long after the six minutes has expired. Although appearing on a CD of light-ish music, this does not really belong to that genre as such, but it is actually quite classical, if not baroque. I suppose the ‘light’ epithet can be applied because of the high strings which often carry the tune an at times give it a sort of ‘Mantovani’ feel. Yet this work has some lovely reflective writing in the English pastoral vein that never loses interest for a moment. It is fair to say that this work is more ‘concertante’ than ‘concerto.’

I cannot help thinking of Richmond Park when I hear this music – and of course William Blezard lived at nearby Barnes for many years.

Duetto on Naxos 8.555069

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