Thea Musgrave - * Concerto for Orchestra • ** Clarinet Concerto • *** Horn Concerto • Monologue • Excursions

Gervase de Peyer, clarinet
Barry Tuckwell, horn
Thea Musgrave, piano
Malcolm Williamson, piano
* Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Alexander Gibson
** London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Norman Del Mar
*** Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Thea Musgrave

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2007 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: SRCD.253
UPC/EAN: 5020926025326
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD
Number of discs: 1
Total playing time: 80.00
Price: £ 14.99 (+ postage & packing)

No recording information available for this CD

Like many composers of her generation in Britain – the generation that first began to attract notice in the middle 1950s – Thea Musgrave came of age musically in that 'rite of passage' which involved acknowledging the primary importance of Bartók and the Second Viennese School, and thus the rejection of tonality as traditionally conceived, along with its traditional expressive and form-building functions. This was a step with momentous consequences for any composer: such new freedoms immediately create concomitant new responsibilities, and often acute problems. Perhaps the central issue – and the one which seems to have dominated and focussed Musgrave’s whole artistic progress to a greater degree than most of her contemporaries – was the need to discover new means of dramatizing the structure and musical argument of each work, means that could replace the drama and dynamism inherent in the workings of traditional tonality.

"The orchestral music bristles with incident and its soloistic building blocks individually recall Stravinsky. Overall though the delicate, yet steely pointillistic effect is dissonant but fascinating. In the case of the Concerto for Orchestra the effect is like wandering through a surreal forest where the traveller is slapped, scratched and bombarded with a wealth of ideas and impressions. Some of these details are brazen but many are more subtle - everything seems superbly weighted and calculated ... It should also be noted that the soloists in the two concertos are the artists for whom the works were written and who premiered them ... The disc is completed by what amounts to major encyclopedic entry for Musgrave by Calum Macdonald, the perfect companion to this listening experience ... Not typical fare for Lyrita but beguilingly done with fervent authority and great sensitivity ..." Rob Barnett, Click here to read the full review

"This is a generous CD of reissues of classic new music from the 1960s ... They are played by performers then at the height of their powers and with flair and surety that makes this a landmark disc and one to be bought without hesitation by anyone interested in the development of post-war British music in general and Thea Musgrave’s mellow, steady and always inventive style in particular ..." Mark Sealey, Click here to read the full review

"Whether dramatic or droll, this bipartite selection – big concertos and small piano works – has something for everyone - everyone that is who appreciates some healthy challenges and spatial awareness in their music ..." Jonathan Woolf, Click here to read the full review

"The performances all carry the utmost conviction and the recordings, from the early 1970s, are both warm and detailed, that of the Horn Concerto being particularly vivid. A CD can’t, of course, give us the important visual element in the three concertos (a DVD would be invaluable but I don’t imagine such a thing is high on any record company’s list of priorities at the moment), and of course the Horn Concerto cries out for surround sound, though we do get a strong sense of the spatial separation of the four orchestral horns in this recording. This is one of the most important discs in the current wave of Lyrita issues, a must for anyone interested in British composers of the post-Britten generation, and well worth investigating by anyone else ..." Mike Wheeler, Click here to read the full review

"Three resounding cheers for the appearance on CD at last of the three Thea Musgrave Concertos. In these single-movement works of the late 1960s and early 70s, the Scottish-born composer made effective use both of her flexible mixture of rhythmic and free-time music and of her distinctive vein of instrumental drama ... The recordings are vivid and well remastered, and the notes helpful. As a double bonus, there's the composer playing the lucid piano 'Monologue', and, with Malcolm Williamson, the entertaining teaching duets 'Excursions'. But the prime attraction is undoubtedly those three terrific concertos ..." Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine, September 2007

1 Concerto for Orchestra (1967) Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) 20.26
2 Clarinet Concerto (1969) Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) 23.38
3 Horn Concerto (1971) Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) 22.06
4 Monologue, for solo piano (1960) Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) 6.02
Excursions, eight duets for piano, four hands (1965) Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) 7.40
5 I Moderato (Driving in the Highlands) 0.54
6 II Pesante (The Road Hog) 0.52
7 III Semplice (Learner-Driver) 0.36
8 IV Con brio (The Drunken Driver) 0.45
9 V Piacevole (The Sunday Driver) 1.16
10 VI Scherzo (Roadside Repairs) 0.51
11 VII Misterioso (Fog on the Motorway) 1.34
12 VIII Allegro (Backseat Driver) 0.54