CHRISTOPHER GUNNING (b.1944): Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7, Night Voyage.
Catalogue Number: 11Q007
Label: Discovery Music and Vision
Description: With these two attractive, very tonal symphonies, Gunning returns to the succinct layout (single span subdivided into sections) of his symphonies (e.g. 06K099) before the imposing Fifth (09P008). The Sixth begins with a woodwind motif which re-emerges at climactic moments throughout the work. This is expanded into a serious opening movement before transitioning into a driven scherzo over an ostinato figure. This subsides to give way to a nocturnal slow movement, somewhat Brittenesque. The 'finale' is a sprightly fugato movement with voices adopting a wide variety of timbral coloration as they move around between sections of the orchestra, which eventually reintroduces a final, grand statement of the opening motif. The Seventh is divided into six sections, with a clear sense of narrative progression. There is a very Sibelian feel to the opening, with its sense of brooding anticipation, and also to various recurring gestures throughout the piece, which is described by the composer as representing the experiences of an eventful journey. The tone poem Night Voyage continues this idea, with an optimistic departure, the challenge of a violent storm, and a final arrival or resolution. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Christopher Gunning.