GEORGE WALKER (b.1922): Piano Concerto, Icarus in Orbit, Dialogus for Cello and Orchestra, Abu for Narrators and Chamber Ensemble, Da Camera for Piano Trio, Harp, Celesta, String Orchestra and Percussion.
Catalogue Number: 02N068
Reference: TROY 1334
Description: The substantial three-movement concerto begins with a tough, decisive motif, followed by contrasting material of a more tranquil nature. Several cadenzas provide ample opportunity both for virtuosic display and for the soloist to advance the musical argument. The composer's taut tonal vocabulary gives way to a more opulent sense of harmony in the slow movement, based on a theme of Duke Ellington. The finale is rhythmic, with strongly syncopated accents, leading to a tense fugal treatment of the material. Dialogus is a compressed cello concerto in one movement, with a long-breathed, solo line, alternately lyrical and frantically active, weaving a path through sultry, atmospheric orchestral textures. The vigorously discursive Da Camera incorporates references to Broadway, jazz and a spiritual, while Abu embellishes a poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt, concluding with the quotation of a hymn by Alexander Reinagle. The brief, energetic and very tonal Icarus makes an appealing curtain-raiser for an uncompromisingly serious but thoroughly accessible program. Rochelle Sennet (piano), Dmitri Kouzov, Brandon Vamso (cellos), Sherban Lupu (violin), Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson.