Gunning

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COMPOSERS: Gunning
LABELS: Albany
ALBUM TITLE: Gunning Orchestral Music
WORKS: Piano Concerto
PERFORMER: Olga DudnikSlovak Radio Symphony OrchestraChristopher Gunning
CATALOGUE NO: TROY 686
Christopher Gunning is best known for his film and television scores, and

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composes in a conservative, tonal

idiom. These pieces are all expertly

written, but they beg for the addition

of some pictures – as it is they don’t

have a real harmonic direction.

The first movement of the Piano

Concerto creates a series of moods,

but it sits down a lot, as the piano

decorates a succession of slow-moving

harmonies. There’s more rhythmic

excitement in the faster sections, but

they rely overmuch on the piano

playing in octaves with punctuating

chords from the orchestra. Gunning

describes the slow movement as a

reflective night piece, and it certainly

has a peaceful quality, but there’s far

too much of the piano playing scales

up and down against moody sustained

strings, and that recurs in the last

movement. Olga Dudnik deals with

the technical demands of the piece,

but there’s not much more for her to

get her teeth into.

Storm! never becomes violent

enough to justify its title, and

the Symphony provides echoes

of Walton, Rawsthorne, Arnold,

Holst and others without finding an

individual voice. The performances

are alert, with some nicely shaped

wind solos, though ensemble is not

always watertight. The recording

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is clear. Martin Cotton