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WORKS: Dream Carousels, Igorochki
PERFORMER: John Turner (recorders), Peter Lawson (piano); RNCM New Ensemble, RNCM Wind Orchestra/Clark Rundell, Timothy Reynish
The commitment of the indispensable NMC to new music continues with this welcome addition to its catalogue. Anthony Gilbert is well known to some as a teacher, notably until recently at the Royal Northern College of Music. But over the last 30 years he has produced a notable body of work, among which his music for woodwind has achieved special prominence.


Typical of the man and his art are the Dream Carousels, a triptych for wind orchestra relating to texts by the Tasmanian poet Sarah Day (the Antipodes and India have been important sources of Gilbert’s inspiration). Elfin and witty, yet never superficial, the music is that rare thing, the true objective correlative in sound of the verbal weight and nuance of the words that purport to inspire it. In the Quartet of Beasts and Six of the Bestiary, the humour of Borges is captured in precisely imagined miniatures that almost out-paradox the mirror-like ideas of the Argentinian master.


With the piano concerto Towards Asavari, Gilbert’s music penetrates the essentials of its raga-based material and inscaping poetical aspirations, pace Gerard Manley Hopkins. This is music of considerable spirituality, rather more potent stuff than much of today’s skin-deep mysticism. Nicholas Williams