THOMAS WILSON (1927-2001): Chamber Symphony, EDWARD MCGUIRE (b.1948): Songs of New Beginnings for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute/Piccolo/Alto Flute, Oboe/Cor anglais, Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn, PHILIP NORRIS (b.1948): Cello Canata for Cello and Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 06Q074
Reference: CCD 1032
Format: CD reissue
Description: Wilson's Chamber Symphony is harmonically ambiguous, highly chromatic yet constantly resolving onto tonal centers. After a slow introduction, a fast, discursive movement gives way to a very slow, mysterious slow section. This is abruptly interrupted by a driven fast movement, more clearly directional than the first, which reaches a dramatic conclusion and subsides into a coda which decelerates, fragments and finally evaporates. McGuire's cycle sets seven poems by Marianne Carey charting a female character's journey out of a destructive relationship. The pain and anger of the earlier verses is reflected in dissonant elaboration of stark tone-row material, which gives way to much more consonant harmony, with even a relaxed, modal, folk-like feel as the character's 'new beginnings' take root. The Norris is a chamber concerto in five sections, written in 1990 at a disturbing time of uncertainty in world history, and reflecting this in a narrative in which the solo cello (in a fearsomely virtuosic part) takes on the role of protagonist and narrator, with important 'recitatives' throughout, while the ensemble functions as a 'chorus' and individual soloists, hence the unusual title. Even at its most fragmentary and ambiguous, the work is based firmly in tonality, with sections of elegiac melody and turbulent ostinati in an idiom somewhat reminiscent of Shostakovich. Texts included. Linda Ormiston (mezzo), Paragon Ensemble; David Davies. Original 1993 release.