CD OF THE MONTH
ORIENTAL LANDSCAPES in at number 94 of The 99 Most Essential Autumn Classics, released 14th October 2011
DAME EVELYN GLENNIE and the Singapore Symphony
BIS CD 1222
It is eighteen years since Evelyn premiered Thea Musgrave’s darkly evocative Journey through a Japanese Landscape, a concerto for marimba and wind orchestra, at the Cheltenham Festival with the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, it is nearly ten years since the Swedish record company BIS issued a recording of concertos for percussion and Symphony Orchestra, played by Dame Evelyn and the Singapore Symphony, conducted by Lan Shui, and it is six months since the third movement, Autumn, was selected for the 99 most essential Autumn Classics. Click below to purchase an mp3 download of Autumn from Amazon for just 69 pence, a bargain. AMAZON AUTUMN CLASSICS
Click on ORIENTAL LANDSCAPES to buy the whole CD from Amazon at £10.97, including concerti for percussion and symphony orchestra by Chen Yi, Zhou Long and Alan Hovhaness.
The work was commissioned by the RNCM School of Wind & Percussion with funds from the Arts Council of Great Britain and a consortium of the BASBWE Trust, the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Warwick, and was sketched during the summer of 1993 and composed in the early months of 1994. It was specially written for Evelyn Glennie, to whom it is dedicated, and who gave the world première at the Cheltenham Festival on 14th July 1994, with the RNCM Wind Orchestra, conducted by Timothy Reynish.
Dame Thea Musgrave wrote:
The four movements are based on a series of haiku which represent an emotional journey through the four seasons. The solo marimba introduces each one with a 'peal' on wind chimes - bamboo for spring, wood for summer, metal for autumn and glass for winter.
The three haiku chosen for each of the seasons provide a setting and an 'event'. Thus the gently undulating spring seas the background for the free, improvisatory character of the skylark (solo marimba). The summer grasses have buried the glorious dreams of ancient warriors (a march for brass instruments) and after a violent storm a distant memory of this march is heard on the solo marimba. An autumnal fog envelopes a colossal Buddha (solo for cor anglais, with slow-moving brass and hovering six-chords for marimba). The solo flute represents the lonely watcher who sounds "one gong after another". The cricket (wood blocks, temple blocks and slap strokes on the marimba, over an intoned A flat) is asked to 'act as grave keeper'. Glass wind chimes introduce the frozen winter landscape. Winds reintroduce the march theme, the 'lonely' flute returns, then sleet and snow (various drums all played with nylon brushes) build to a big storm. Out of the silence that follows, echoes of the first movement suggest the return of spring and so rebirth.
The Concerto is for wind ensemble with solo players, lasts a little over twenty four minutes, and is published by Novello/Music Sales