It is my misfortune not to have heard Peter Cigleris until this disc
arrived. He has Devon connections and gave his first professional
recital at the age 14 in Plymouth with pianist-composer Clive Jenkins.
They still tour Devon and Cornwall. Jenkins has written a clarinet
concerto for Cigleris and this was premièred in 2000 with the
Southwest Sinfonia in Plymouth's Guildhall.
Peter’s performing repertoire includes the concertos by Finzi,
Wilson, Arnold (No.2) and Nielsen. His professors at the Birmingham
Conservatoire in the late 1990s included Colin Parr and it was there
that he won the John Ireland Chamber Music award with a performance
of the Ireland Fantasy Sonata. His playing of the Arnold Second Concerto
was with the Warwickshire Symphony under Guy Woolfenden as part of
Arnold’s 80th birthday celebrations. Janet Hilton and Richard
Hosford were numbered among his teachers at the Royal College of Music.
He has also drawn on teaching from Andrew Marriner and Antony Pay
and has participated in master-classes with Michael Collins. This,
by the way, is not one of those recordings dogged by key mechanism
clitter-clatter. Wonderful if uncanny when mechanical essentials can
be suppressed to allow the music to speak without distraction.
Rather than Clive Jenkins we hear the Australian-born pianist Antony
Gray with Cigleris. Gray’s three-CD collection of 20th
century Bach transcriptions has just been issued by ABC Classics.
He has already recorded extensively with an adventurous tilt to his
He is also one of the pianists on CD16 of the Chandos Grainger
On this disc there is some re-ploughing of the familiar and almost-familiar
in the shape of the Alwyn and Ireland. There remains enough unusual
in this topmost filled disc to get the appreciative juices going.
It’s by no means all British pastoral either, although that
voice is certainly present in Australian John Carmichael’s Fêtes
Champêtres. Carmichael’s Aria and Finale
is at first a cloud-hung contrast to the Fêtes although it soon
finds its lyrical feet. The Finale is typically grateful and
full of exultant song. These are two conjoined movements in search
of a first movement - and with all the marks of a Clarinet Concerto
in the making. We shall see.
Carmichael has had quite considerable attention in these pages and
is a name well worth following if you enjoy gifted lyrical music:
Concerto on ASV and Clarinet
Concerto on Dutton; not to mention an ABC disc of his chamber
music including the Piano Quartet Sea
Changes and on the same label Antony Gray’s survey of
the piano music.
The Alwyn - a Thea King commission - is given the strongest
performance I know of, although I have not heard Robert Plane on Naxos.
Cigleris gives the most defiantly possessed and truculent skirl to
the opening and closing episodes of this dark little sonata. It’s
good to have the three Armstrong Gibbs pieces, written for
Jack Brymer. The Shadow March is nocturnal yet sly and playful.
The Air has English pastoral inclinations fully indulged. Back
to cheery play and exultation in virtuosity in the final Caprice.
It’s all very much in the English mainstream and delightful.
The wartime Ireland sonata, written for Jack Thurston, has
been much recorded. Cigleris puts his own sincere stamp on it and
totally avoids a certain blandness which the sonata can invite. He
makes hay with the superbly melodic core of this pensive rather than
dramatic work (7:12). This is the poetic, elusive Ireland of Forgotten
Rite rather than the Ireland of Mai-Dun, Epic March
and These Things Shall Be.
I have my fingers crossed for an English concerto disc from Cigleris.
I trust that this will give us the privilege of hearing the concertos
by Clive Jenkins, Finzi, Wilson and Arnold.
The liner-note contributions are variously by Andrew Knowles, William
Alwyn, Clive Jenkins, John Carmichael and Philip R Buttall alongside
the Armstrong Gibbs notes from Cigleris.
This is a fresh and impressively pleasing collection which mixes the
usual and the unusual to good effect with more of the latter than
Review index: Alwyn sonata
~~ Gibbs Three pieces