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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Alun HODDINOTT (b.1929)
Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra Op.3 ** (1950) [14:21]
Harp Concerto Op. 11 *** (1957; rev. 1970) [17:41]
Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 19 † (1960) [19:06]
Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 21 †† (1960; rev. 1969) [16:15]
* Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Charles Groves
** Gervase de Peyer (clarinet)
*** Osian Ellis (harp)
London Symphony Orchestra/David Atherton
† Philip Fowke (piano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth
††Martin Jones (piano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Davis
rec. January 1971, Kingsway Hall (harp, clarinet); 15 January 1996, Walthamstow Assembly Hall (concerto 1); March 1973, Kingsway Hall (concerto 2). ADD (harp, clarinet, concerto 2)
Clarinet and Harp concertos first issued on LP as Decca SXL 6513; Piano Concerto 1: LP Decca SXL 6606.
LYRITA SRCD.330 [67:28]




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 final Allegro.

Four short concertos by the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott. Everything here is well worth hearing but the Second Concerto stands out in this company.

Rob Barnett

see also review by Brian Wilson

Also Available

SRCD.331 Alun Hoddinott Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 5
SRCD.332 Alun Hoddinott Dives & Lazarus

The Lyrita Catalogue



 


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