COMPOSERS: Bennett,C Matthews,Hawkins,Kampela & Tiensuu,Lutyens,Macrae,Musgrave,Payne,Saxton,Woolrich
LABELS: Black Box
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Invocations
PERFORMER: Paul Silverthorne (viola), John Constable (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BBM 1058
Even though the cause of the viola needs no special pleading these days, it helps to have players like Paul Silverthorne around. Principal viola of both the London Symphony Orchestra and London Sinfonietta, he has coaxed, cajoled and inspired composers mightily to extend the contemporary repertoire. Sometimes, as in the case of Elisabeth Lutyens and her Echo of the Wind, the response has been aggressive, testing player and instrument (a rich-toned Amati on loan from the Royal Academy of Music) to their limit. Other examples, such as Robert Saxton’s tribute to the Hassidic tradition, Invocation, Dance and Meditation, have been fruitful studies in collaboration between player and composer, or, in the case of John Hawkins’s Blake-inspired Urizen, keen-eared responses to the instrument’s potential for dark utterance through soulfully eloquent melody.
Interestingly, memory proves central to several other works in this gallery. Both Richard Rodney Bennett’s After Ariadne and John Woolrich’s Three Pieces invoke the music of Monteverdi. Oscuro, by Colin Matthews, looks to its own past in an earlier essay, Chiaroscuro, also written for Silverthorne. Thea Musgrave, Anthony Payne and Stuart MacRae each offer a thoughtful and characteristic miniature, while works by Brazil’s Arthur Kampela and Finland’s Jukka Tiensuu offer more avant-garde perspectives. Nicholas Williams