facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us

*
banner

CD Review: Dances & Arias

The Music of Edward Gregson — Volume VI
Black Dyke
Conductors: Prof Nicholas Childs; Edward Gregson
Doyen Recordings: CD369

Dances and Arias

Hopefully, Edward Gregson’s predictions of musical mortality will be proved wrong time and time again.  

A relationship with Black Dyke that stretches back over five decades shows little sign of disappearing gently into the musical night. On this evidence, the freshly stoked embers of a mature compositional fire are burning as brightly as ever.

Freedom of expression

This latest volume (the sixth in an immensely satisfying series) encompasses works from the early 1970s to date - revealing a remarkable seam of explorative freedom of expression that continues to develop its musical language in a way few, if any other composer has done for the medium.  

‘Patterns’ can almost be considered a conceptual work; a youthful, geometric imagination of thematic and rhythmic stimulants that pulsate with energetic colour. Written in 1974 it provides the genesis for later motifs and themes with a rigour that retains a remarkable freshness of bite.

Present tense

There is also a striking sense of the present about his ‘Four Etudes’, despite encapsulating a 34 year span from the first three movements based on a set of piano pieces from 1982.

The capricious mini-portraits are inspired by the quirks of mood; the muted timbres of the opening ‘Canticle’ sparse and emerging, whilst the ‘Dance’ that follows is dislocated and troubling.  The sardonic wit displayed in ‘Excentrique’ is chilling in its absurdity when balanced against the bristling anger of ‘Aleppo’ - an extended paean to an incomprehensibly barbaric 21st century tragedy that offers a mere glimmer of hopefulness.

Lineage

The ‘Cornet Concerto’ is also a work that spans decades - the latest in a formidable lineage that stretches back to the ‘Horn Concerto’ written for the great Ifor James in 1971. It is a construct of reflection and recall – beautifully performed by Richard Marshall with an agile flexibility of technique and musicality.

Epoch

Two major works, some 30 years apart, frame the release in engrossing substance. ‘Dances & Arias’ is marvellously resurrected from puzzling neglect in a performance rich in depth and clarity of thought to reveal an intense musical dialogue that expertly oscillates between the rhetorical and the concise.

Even in its reworked contest form ‘The Trumpets of the Angels’ retains its thrilling sense of Biblical epoch - coruscating in its visceral drama; the seventh angel the harbinger of fate eternal.  

Brilliantly performed it leaves you breathless and spent, yet eager to hear yet more from a compositional pen that is far from writing its last.

Iwan Fox

Available from: http://www.worldofbrass.com/index.php/

1. Dances and Arias 
2-4. Cornet Concerto
Soloist: Richard Marshall
i. Sonata
ii. Intermezzo (...of more distant memories)
iii. Rondo
5-8. Four Etudes
i. Canticle
ii. Dance
iii. Excentrique
iv. Aleppo
9. Patterns
10. The Trumpets of the Angels
Soloist: Gareth Small



Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 21 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX


The Fairey Band - Ensembles from Bramhall High School

Friday 22 March • Seal Rd, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 2JT SK7 2JT


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

Friday 22 March • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Woodfalls Band - Risca Male Voice Choir

Saturday 23 March • St Mary's Church Andover SP10 1ER


Grimethorpe Colliery Band -

Saturday 23 March • Wakefield Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Wakefield WF1 2TE


The Corsham Band

March 21 • Due to work commitments, a vacancy has arisen for a Tenor Trombone player. First or Second position available. We are a newly promoted Second Section band with a friendly and enthusiastic team.


The GUS Band

March 20 • Following the band's 9th qualification for the National Finals in 10 years the GUS Band seeks applications for both a soprano and a solo cornet player. The band rehearses in Northampton on Monday and Thursday evenings.


Amesbury Town Band

March 20 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially solo cornets, horns, trombones and percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument


Neil Samuel


Conductor