McGuire • Wilson • Dohnányi

COMPOSERS: McGuire Wilson Dohnányi
LABELS: Meridian
ALBUM TITLE: McGuire • Wilson • Dohnányi
WORKS: Trio for horn violin and piano; Complementi; Sextet in C
PERFORMER: Daniel’s Beard


The Trio for horn, violin and piano by Edward McGuire, written when the composer was still a teenager, proves a most attractive opener to this intriguing programme. Conceived in three compact but emotionally contrasted movements, the Trio is strongly indebted to Stravinsky and Hindemith,
although elements of Scottish folk-music are also present.

In contrast, Thomas Wilson’s Complementi for clarinet, violin, cello and piano is more acerbic yet ultimately offers the listener greater rewards. As with Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Wilson’s tautly argued and beautifully transparent one-movement composition explores the distinctive characters of each instrument through strongly delineated musical ideas. Both works receive sympathetic and committed performances from the Glasgow-based chamber ensemble Daniel’s Beard, and Meridian’s recording is beautifully balanced.

Dohnányi’s 1935 Sextet for clarinet, horn, violin, viola, cello and piano inhabits the very different world of late Romanticism. Once again, Daniel’s Beard provides a technically strong performance, though they could have afforded to be even more unbuttoned when it comes to the wit of the Finale with its mischievous juxtapositions of 1930s dance-music and the Viennese waltz. Spectrum Concerts Berlin (Naxos) delivers a more exhilarating account of this movement.


Erik Levi