Friday, 23 May 2008

Berkeley, Bush and Rawsthorne: Chamber Music

Lennox BERKELEY (1903–1989) Sonatina for violin and piano, Op. 17 (1943) Sextet for clarinet, horn and string quartet, Op. 47 (1954) Alan BUSH (1900-1995) Three Concert Studies for piano trio, Op. 31 (1947) Four piano pieces: The Cruel Sea Captain, from Two Ballads of the Sea, Op. 50 (1957) Galliard, from Suite, Op. 54 (1960) Air, from Suite, Op. 54 (1960) Corentyne Kwe-Kwe, Op. 75 (1972) Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Quartet for clarinet, violin, viola and cello (1948)

Most of these works are new to me. I am hoping to be able to hear them myself before too long. However, in the meantime Michael Cookson has provided an excellent review on MusicWeb International.
He begins his review by a statement of the sadly obvious -“A Lyrita disc of reissued recordings of music by three rather enigmatic English composers all born at the beginning of the twentieth century. The reputations of this trio are held in far higher regard by music academics than is reflected in the number of performances their works receive.”

It is only necessary to have a brief look at any of the CD on-line catalogues such as ARKIV or Crotchet to see how true his words are. In Berkeley’s case it is unbelievable that there are only two versions of his Symphonies generally available. They are masterworks that in any other country would be highly regarded.

Michael then proceeds with a very detailed and scholarly exploration of the works on this CD. He concludes his review by simply stating that “this is superbly performed chamber music, away from the mainstream and providing considerable rewards.”

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