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Alun HODDINOTT (1929-2008)
Horn Concerto Op.65 (1969) [13:05]
Humphrey SEARLE (1915-1982)

Aubade for Horn and Strings Op.28 (1955) [7:07]
Don BANKS (1923-1980)

Horn Concerto (1965) [20:16]
Nicholas MAW (b. 1935)

Sonata for Strings and Two Horns (1967) [22:04]
Barry Tuckwell (horn) (Hoddinott; Banks; Searle)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Davis (Hoddinott)
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Norman Del Mar (Banks; Searle)
Alan Civil; Ian Harper (horns); English Chamber Orchestra/Norman Del Mar (Maw)
rec. originally issued on LP: Argo ZRG676 (Maw c/w Sinfonia – first released 1971); Decca SXL6606 (Hoddinott c/w Piano Concerto 2; Sym 5 – first released 1973); Argo ZRG726 (Banks; Searle c/w Musgrave Clarinet Concerto – first released 1974). ADD
LYRITA SRCD.335 [60.00]

Experience Classicsonline

 

If Lyrita's Horn Concerto CD (Bowen, Gipps) was Alpha then this is Omega. David Pyatt was the focus for that English romantic collection. Barry Tuckwell is the fulcrum in this medley of British horn concertos of the 1960s and 1970s. The earlier disc, SRCD316, comprised Lyrita original session recordings. This one invaluably harvests the British Council-Decca-Argo LP production of 40-50 years ago; not that the analogue sound is anything other than extremely pleasing.

The succinct little Hoddinott concerto is eccentrically laid out with two orchestral movements in brooding quasi-Shostakovich mode followed by one in which most of it is taken up with the horn playing unaccompanied. The composer's predilection for bells, percussion and fantasy is fully indulged in the Romanza. It also has a sense of epic conflict and this despite the brevity of the movements. Coming second there is a galloping hard-on-the-heels Scherzo with lashngs of cantabile and brilliance. The Cadenza finale is in large part for solo horn running the gamut of poetry and drama. For the last minute of the five minute finale the orchestra return with the brooding and volatile mesmerics of the Romanza. The work was written for Ifor James but here is in Tuckwell's masterly hands.

The Searle is a romantic piece in lightly shimmering Bergian panoply. It is predominantly dreamy but with flashes of vigour. The Aubade was premiered by Dennis Brain at Aldeburgh in 1955.

Banks was Australian, not English, but was very much a fixture of London concerts and broadcasts in the 1960s. His music in this concerto is softly dissonant with flashes of wild belligerence (2:34) finally resolved in brooding calm. It was written for, dedicated to and premiered by Barry Tuckwell who was also the dedicatee of Bank's Horn Trio.

Nicholas Maw's single movement Sinfonia is the longest work here. It was commissioned by and premiered at the Bath Festival. For me it recalls the lichen and mist atmosphere of Frank Bridge's There is A Willow but there’s the occasional ecstatic airborne episode of string writing redolent of Tippett. The horn solo writing is in thrall to Britten but there is the added interest of antiphonal interplay and spatial effect between the two soloists. No Tuckwell in this case; it is in fact Alan Civil from that other Royal family of British horn-players.

The notes are expansive and useful as you would expect from Paul Conway.

Horn concertos of the 1960s in language typical of the era but with more romance than you might expect.


Rob Barnett


Also available:-

SRCD.276 Don Banks Violin Concerto
SRCD.267 Nicholas Maw Scenes and Arias
SRCD.330 Hoddinott Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2
SRCD.331 Hoddinott Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 5
SRCD.332 Hoddinott Dives & Lazarus

 

 


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