This disc nicely complements
the Hoddinott symphonies 2, 3 and 5
recorded by Lyrita.
Fascinating to hear
these works from the 1950s even if two
of them were revised in 1969-70. The
three movement op. 3 Clarinet Concerto
is played by the liquid-toned de Peyer
who premiered it at the Cheltenham Festival.
The springy and flighty zest of the
outer movements recalls Berkeley at
one moment and Rawsthorne the next.
It has a drier disposition than the
contemporary Finzi concerto. The 1957
Harp Concerto is played by Osian
Ellis who gave the premiere again at
the Cheltenham Festival in 1958. Seven
years after the Clarinet Concerto Hoddinott
had found his voice. It is an intriguing
voice, often delicate with percussion
decoration and address, with a chilly
dissonant edge to motifs and melodies
and an atmospheric rather than overtly
emotional character. The titles of the
movements hint at the approach: Dialogue,
Improvisation and Fantasy and all are
in keeping with the soul of the harp.
The Piano Concerto
No. 1 is scored for an orchestra
of woodwind and brass with timps, percussion
and celesta. It's the only digital recording
here. The concerto was premiered in
London by Valerie Tryon - who also championed
the Second - in the year of composition.
Across its four movements it is stern
and touched with a sense of nightmare.
The sauntering piano line and threatening
air again seems to look to Rawsthorne
but also to a work which presumably
Hoddinott would not have known: Bridge's
Phantasm. There is hint of cool
jazziness and even a casual confidence
in the finale. The compact Second
Piano Concerto reverts to three
movements and a more 'normal' orchestra.
This work is intensely expressive with
a deeply impressive Adagio set
between the meditative and capricious
Moderato and a darkly businesslike
Four short concertos
by the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott.
Everything here is well worth hearing
but the Second Concerto stands out in
see also review
by Brian Wilson
Alun Hoddinott Symphonies
Nos. 2, 3, 5
Alun Hoddinott Dives