BUXTON ORR (1924-1997): String Quartet No. 1 "Refrains IV", String Quartet No. 2, String Trio (Beethoven String Trio of London, Andrew Roberts [violin]), Duo for Baroque Violin and String Bass (Maya Homburger [violin], Barry Guy [double bass]).
Catalogue Number: 05O071
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0103
Description: In the course of a varied and distinguished career, Orr studied with Benjamin Frankel, a major influence both in terms of the development of Orr's own version of dodecaphonic composition, and his introduction to composition for film; wrote a small but noteworthy body of film scores, as well as concert works; was a distinguished educator, and also worked in the field of jazz. Of these diverse strands of his musical personality, the chamber works here most obviously reflect his association with Frankel; all are based strictly on 12-note rows, though as in the case of Frankel's music Orr's manages to remain accessible and emotionally communicative, with a richly chromatic sense of harmony and an inevitability of direction to his musical argument even without resorting to the devices of conventional tonality. The late Trio is especially taut and intense, with not a note wasted; it features frequent changes of meter, a characteristic gesture of the composer's. These traits are also to be heard in the quartets, both of which contain slow movements of powerfully expressive lyricism, especially that of the Second, with its sense of barely suppressed impassioned tragedy. The Duo - also a 12-note work - nevertheless incorporates sections of improvisation, linking it to Orr's work with the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra.