ROBERT SIMPSON (1921-1997): Cello Concerto, JOHN JOUBERT (b.1927): Concerto in Two Movements for Cello and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 171, CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT (b.1954): Cello Concerto.
Catalogue Number: 08R010
Description: These three eloquent concerti, tonal in the composers' own unique idiom, were all written for Wallfisch. Joubert's is the most conventionally Romantic, though it is structured in terms of motivic development in two contrasting movements rather than the traditional three-movement form. The work has a muted, autumnal air, suggestion passionate memories viewed from afar. A lengthy cadenza acts as a link between the movements, reflecting on the first movement and anticipating the greater urgency of discourse of the second. Simpson's concerto - his last orchestral work, written in the year of the devastating stroke that severely curtailed the activities of his final years - is a rigorously worked out set of variations on a characteristically intricate set of thematic cells presented in an orchestral introduction, which are given separate emphasis in ensuing variations. The work is exactly what one would expect of Simpson the symphonist; structurally impeccable, propelled by the most ingenious use of progressive tonality, and rhythmically vigorous. The soloist is afforded ample opportunity to take center stage, never for virtuosic display alone but always as part of the musical argument. Wright's piece is a response to the 2011 social unrest in England, and consists of contrasting sections of 'battle' and 'lament', in which the traditional rôle of the soloist as 'individual interacting with the crowd' is used to great effect in a powerfully dramatic narrative, at first warlike, then elegiac, then attempting a psychologically complex reconciliation by combining material from the earlier movements, ending with a glimpse of hope. Raphael Wallfisch (cello), BBC National Orchestra of Wales; William Boughton.