Wright • Vaughan Williams

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Christopher Wright; Ralph Vaughan Williams
LABELS: Dutton Epoch
ALBUM TITLE: Wright • Vaughan Williams
WORKS: Wright: Momentum; Concerto for Violin & Orchestra; Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 in D
PERFORMER: Fanella Humphreys (violin), Christopher Watson (tenor); Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Martin Yates


Christopher Wright’s Violin Concerto – written in memory of his violinist wife, Ruth, who had recently died – is a strikingly individual conception, incorporating a tenor voice in the last of its three movements: this is a setting of lines by Christina Rossetti: ‘Come to me in the silence of the night.’ Wright’s idiom – both listener-friendly and superbly skilled, with never a wasted note – has no problems sustaining a 35-minute design. Violinist Fenella Humphreys responds to its elegiac reflection and technical display at top-flight level, offering emotional depth and weight of tone.

Wright’s Momentum for orchestra, although written with the same professional finish, is a much less substantial statement. What makes this release even more appealing, however, is the quality of the performance of Vaughan Williams’s Fifth Symphony. Peter Horton’s new edition of the score corrects some (frankly fairly minor) errors that migrated from a copyist’s manuscript to the published version. Much more striking is the evidence of what can happen when a musician of Martin Yates’s quality gets to conduct a work of this order. The performance is as moving, and as beautifully paced and played – by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra – as any I have heard. The same impressive level is also reached by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Wright’s two works.


Malcolm Hayes