Saturday, 13 March 2010

David Morgan: Violin Concerto

David Morgan (1933-1988) is an enigma. There is virtually no information about him on the web. He does not have an entry in Grove. There are only a handful of references to his recorded music – and I am not sure they refer to this particular Morgan anyway. The fact remains that apart from one sadly underrated Lyrita release from the late ’seventies, there are no opportunities to evaluate his music. Recently Lyrita re-released the superb Contrasts on one of their compilation discs (SRCD318 - see review) – where it does not really sit comfortably

The Violin Concerto written in 1966. Rob Barnett in his review on MusicWeb International has rightly pointed out that there are nods towards Walton, Szymanowski and Vaughan Williams. The musical language is typically a little less astringent – but I feel that the deeply personal nature – the composer calls it “the most comprehensively and openly autobiographical” of his work makes it slow to reveal its beauties. It is a complex work, lasting nearly half an hour. However it never ceases to maintain interest and the variety of its material is constantly revealing new beauties and challenges. There are some impressive passages that move well beyond the palettes of RVW and Walton. I believe that if this work was allowed to have its head, it would truly rival both the Walton, and dare I say it the Elgar! It is one of the great British violin concertos.

It would be good if there could be a reappraisal of Morgan's music, ans some biographical data emerge.

Sound samples of this great work can be found at Amazon


Gavin Bullock said...

There is now a limited but useful amount of information if you Google his name: early life in England, period of study in Prague, married Czech woman who dies two years later. Later remarries and emigrates to Canada. One child. Dies of heart attack after pneumonia in his mid-50s. According to one posting, was a victim on the Glock blacklist at the BBC.

Gavin Bullock said...

There is more information to be found on Google (search David Morgan composer). I detailed some here but the illegible "prove your not a robot" text defeated me and I cannot do it all again. Hope this works!

John France said...

Thanks for that. He was a clearly a great composer.

John F