DOUGLAS LILBURN (1915-2001): String Quartet in E Minor, String Trio, Violin Sonata, 6 Duos for 2 Violins, Canzonettas Nos. 1 and 2 for Violin and Viola.
Catalogue Number: 09O010
Reference: ACD 142
Description: Sibelius is often invoked for comparison with Lilburn's craggy, towering orchestral works; the similarities are less in evidence in these chamber pieces, though a certain seriousness of purpose and brooding intensity, as well as a gift for concise, precise expression and economical, organic use of form have somewhat in common with the Finnish master. Elsewhere, one is also reminded of pastoral English string serenades - Bliss or Vaughan Williams perhaps. The quartet is a substantial three-movement work, with serious, questing outer movements framing a brief allegretto interlude. The sonata is a passionate work, traversing many moods in a highly concentrated quarter-hour. The Duos are simultaneously a set of diverse character pieces and studies - as much for the composer's benefit in exercising his craft in achieving a wide range of expression with deliberately limited means as for the performers. Folk-dances, pastorals and restrained tragedy are all evoked by these remarkably full-textured miniatures. The Canzonettas were composed as incidental music for Shakespeare, again establishing a mood and atmosphere instantly, with the greatest instrumental economy. The trio shares a similar musical language with the quartet - they were composed a year apart - with a suggestion of Schubertian wistful melancholy (acknowledged by the composer in a rare comment on his own music) in the middle movement. Martin Riseley (violin), The Chamber Players of the New Zealand School of Music.