Jacob, Arnold, Bowen, Gipps & Vinter

COMPOSERS: Arnold,Bowen,Gipps & Vinter,Jacob
LABELS: Lyrita
ALBUM TITLE: British Horn Concertos
WORKS: Works by Jacob, Arnold, Bowen, Gipps & Vinter
PERFORMER: David Pyatt (horn); London PO/Nicholas Braithwaite
CATALOGUE NO: SRCD 316
David Pyatt was only 20 or so when these recordings were made in the mid 1990s, and it’s good that they’re finally seeing the light of day. His playing is musical and easily virtuosic – qualities on display in all these works, three of which were originally written for Dennis Brain. The Gordon Jacob Concerto has a pleasant lyricism in sections of all three movements, and a theme showing off fast repeated notes in the finale, though none of it is particularly memorable. Unlike Malcolm Arnold’s Second Horn Concerto, which has an unmistakeably personal harmonic tang, particularly in the wide-ranging, apparently calm melodic line of the slow movement in which something more sinister is lurking in the background.

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In the York Bowen Concerto, Pyatt revels in the luxuriant, late-Romantic language that the composer was still using in the 1950s. But Bowen at least has an individual character which I can’t find in Ruth Gipps, whose Concerto is the one work where Pyatt sometimes sounds slightly less than comfortable. He completely redeems himself in the infectious humour of Gilbert Vinter’s Hunter’s Moon, a showpiece of the British horn repertoire. The orchestral playing throughout is sympathetic, and the recording balance exemplary, with depth and detail. Martin Cotton