Bri­tish Vi­o­lin Con­cer­tos

BBC Music Magazine - - Concerto Reviews -

Works by Pat­ter­son, Leighton & Ja­cob Clare How­ick (vi­o­lin);

BBC Scot­tish Sym­phony Orches­tra/ Grant Llewellyn

Naxos 8.573791 67:44 mins

De­spite its ul­tra-pedes­trian ti­tle, this al­bum can be warmly rec­om­mended even beyond ded­i­cated fans of Bri­tish mu­sic. Pat­ter­son’s Con­certo hardly pushes the bound­aries of con­ven­tion, as the jolly-hockey-sticks start of the open­ing ‘Toc­cata’ move­ment makes clear; yet the mu­sic soon enough develops a sharp-fo­cus and strik­ingly in­di­vid­ual strand of lyri­cal in­ven­tive­ness. In the cen­tral ‘Bar­carolle’, the or­ches­tral harpist has a link­ing role that me­di­ates be­tween the vi­o­lin and orches­tra al­most as a sec­ond soloist, and Pat­ter­son’s or­ches­tra­tion through­out is of ear-be­guil­ing skill.

The semi-mod­ernist id­iom of Ken­neth Leighton’s Con­certo (1952), ref lect­ing his study with Pe­trassi in Italy, may sur­prise lis­ten­ers fa­mil­iar with his church mu­sic. A four-move­ment work, its sus­tained emo­tional charge cul­mi­nates in a con­clud­ing slow ‘Epi­l­ogo’ of gen­uine ex­pres­sive power. Gor­don Ja­cob’s Con­certo oc­cu­pies much more be­nign and con­ven­tional ter­ri­tory, but does so with a charm and ac­com­plish­ment that lifts the mu­sic hap­pily beyond rou­tine.

Clare How­ick, for whom Pat­ter­son wrote his ‘Ser­e­nade’ Con­certo, per­forms all three works with su­perb com­mand, plus a glit­ter­ing weight of tone surely not only due to the Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lin lent to her by the Royal Academy of Mu­sic for this record­ing. The

BBC Scot­tish Sym­phony Orches­tra ac­com­pa­nies with fresh­ness and pre­ci­sion. Mal­colm Hayes


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