DAVID ELLIS (b.1933): Vale Royal Suite, Concert Music (Manchester Sinfonia; Richard Howarth), Diversions, September Threnody (Northern Chamber Orchestra; Nicholas Ward), Celebration (RNCM Sinfonia; Edward Downes), Solus (Manchester Camerata; Frank Cliff)
Catalogue Number: 11Q070
Label: Divine Art
Reference: dda 25119
Description: Ellis was a composition student of Thomas Pitfield, who also taught Ronald Stevenson, John Ogdon and John McCabe, all of whom, like their teacher, resisted avant-garde tendencies in British Music - certainly to a far greater extent than did Ogdon's illustrious composer-colleagues in the Manchester Group. Like Pitfield, whose music Ellis' somewhat resembles, Ellis entirely resisted any modernist tendencies at any time between the 1959 Concert Music and the 2011 Threnody in memory of his wife. And, like Pitfield's, his music is elegantly crafted and finely wrought, in an emotionally communicative, tonal language, intermittentely reminiscent of Bliss, Vaughan Williams, Walton or McCabe. Celebration is an impressive tone-poem, demonstrating a fine dramatic sense and highly effective orchestration, while the heartfelt Threnody has a tender, bittersweet economy of expression, full of restrained passion and deeply moving. Diversions and Solus are in free variation form, as eloquent as they are ingeniously constructed.