GORDON CROSSE (b.1937): Concerto for Viola and Strings with French Horn, Brief Encounter for Oboe d'amore, Recorder and Strings, Fantasia on "Ca' the Yowes" for Recorder, Harp and Strings, JOHN MANDUELL (b.1928): Flutes Concerto for Flute, Harp, Strings and Percussion, Double Concerto for Oboe, Cor anglais, Strings and Percussion.
Catalogue Number: 07P070
Reference: msv 77201
Description: Manduell, whose compositional activities were an adjunct to a long and distinguished career at the BBC and in academia, studied with Alwyn and Lennox Berkeley, and his music fits into the British 20th-century canon which those composers represent. The Flutes Concerto, so called because it uses three members of the flute family, is an attractive work with an atmospheric, mysterious slow movement bracketed by an energetic first movement and a finale which alternates liveliness and languor. The orchestration is notable for some inventive, subtly colorful percussion effects. The Double Concerto is a 2012 rewriting of a 1985 work with traditional Chinese instruments. After a slow, mysterious introduction, the soloists engage in a spirited dialogue in a modally flavored harmonic vocabulary, much more English than Chinese, with the composer's trademark percussion-coloured textures very much in evidence. The slow movement alternates a severe, chorale-like statement, with episodes of melancholy melody of varying character, while the percussion leads the finale in a vigorous Bacchanalian dance. Crosse returned to composition in 2009 after an 18-year hiatus, and wrote these three works in short order thereafter. The composer speaks of a 'simplification' of his style in these later works; this seems to translate as a shift toward modality and the cadences of British folk music compared to more chromatic, consciously modernistic harmonic thinking. Certainly this is true of the concerto, which makes use of themes from discarded earlier works and sketches from the years of compositional activity, in three movements of boldly direct emotional utterance. Textures are spare and economical, with the soloist carrying much of the emotional heft of the work, especially in the somber, keening slow movement, 'Song'. The Fantasia is a varied series of treatments of fragments of an actual folk melody, with an acknowledged debt to Vaughan Williams, while Brief Encounter is a work 'all about farewells'; an elegiac processional interrupted by an agitated central section. 2 CDs. Michael Cox (flute), Matthew Jones (viola), Richard Simpson (oboes), Alison Teale (cor anglais), John Turner (recorder), Manchester Sinfonia; Timothy Reynish.