WORKS: Night; Cello Concerto; Some Marches on a Ground
PERFORMER: Alexander Baillie (cello), Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano); BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: D058
Born in 1937, the English composer Gordon Crosse had his period in the sun during the late Sixties and early Seventies, when two of the three works recorded here were written. His music is now seldom heard; Crosse himself has, we are told, ‘withdrawn from composition in the last few years’.
The rather neo-Romantic style which he cultivated seemed rather out of fashion in its own time. I was looking forward to hearing some of Crosse’s work again, to see whether the long gap suggested a new perspective. But nothing on this disc, I’m sorry to say, made the earth move for me. Memories of Morning: Night, the big 1971 cycle based on Jean Rhys, is too well-behaved to be even an adequate, let alone a truly involving, reflection of its torrid subject-matter, gamely though it’s sung by Susan Bickley. Some of its word-setting is as obvious as the materials and treatment of Some Marches on a Ground (1970) are trite and tawdry; I’d also forgotten how much Britten there is in Crosse’s music. The Cello Concerto (1976-8, revised in 1981), though ably championed by Alexander Baillie, inconsequentially alternates anonymous, meandering elegies with restless scherzo material. Altogether a disappointment. Keith Potter