COMPOSERS: Jonathan Lloyd
WORKS: Symphony No. 4
PERFORMER: BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: CD 046M
Booklet notes by Stephen Plaistow and David Drew both attempt to dispel the image of the British composer Jonathan Lloyd, 50 this year, as a recluse ill-served by lack of performances. But it remains a fact that his ten-year-old Symphony No. 4 – a BBC commission for the 1988 Proms – has not been heard in the concert hall since its premiere.
A single, half-hour movement for large orchestra, the work is among this somewhat erratic composer’s most substantial, as well as entertaining, offerings. It is, typically, based on simple scale patterns, the smudged ‘self-harmonising adjacencies’ (Drewterm) which may suggest Górecki. Yet the ways in which Lloyd proceeds to energise such materials with the rhythms and timbres of a variety of popular musics are very much his own. The whole thing is much more than having fun with an electric guitar, drum-kit, lion’s roar and a quartet of honking saxophones. I especially admired the control that the composer demonstrates over such wayward developments, and his ability to extricate himself from almost impossible situations. Played here with both precision and a real feeling for the work’s weird fantasies, Lloyd’s Fourth Symphony makes compelling listening. Keith Potter