WORKS: Piano Quartet; Incantatio; Trois évocations finlandaises; Cinq Masques; Canonic Verses; Frenglish Suite
PERFORMER: Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Richard Dubugnon (double bass), Matthew Sharp (cello), Viv McLean, Dominic Harlan (piano); Royal Academy Wind Soloists
CATALOGUE NO: 8.555778
‘21st-century classics’ is the meaningless designation attached by Naxos to this CD. In fact, only one of the pieces includes material written in the 21st century, and whether anything written by Richard Dubugnon (b1968) will ever be judged classic will have to be decided at the leisure of a very lazy posterity. ‘Late 20th-century promise’ is more appropriate, for there is plenty to enjoy in Dubugnon’s output to date. Such as his Piano Quartet – described by its composer as a homage to Fauré and which reveals in addition the influence of Ravel in its wistful, haunting textures and long lyrical lines. Dubugnon also qualifies the work with the dread word ‘substantial’, but anyone expecting something as long-winded as some of Fauré’s works will be pleasantly surprised. The second movement is often more of an exotic soupy Moderato than its Presto marking suggests, but is well sustained and full of nice touches.
The lengthy Trois évocations finlandaises for Dubugnon’s own instrument, the double bass, may prove gruelling for the bass-averse, but the wind works that follow – excellently performed by Nicholas Daniel et al – are more typical of Dubugnon in their buoyancy and inventiveness, and certainly contain enough to give posterity something to think about. Christopher Wood