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Track(s) taken from CDA67185

Concerto for string orchestra


New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor)
Recording details: March 2000
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: October 2000
Total duration: 31 minutes 58 seconds


'Vibrant performances' (The Daily Telegraph)

'A welcome release. Beynon is enchanting in the Flute Concerto, while the Aylesbury Games Suite and Concerto for String Orchestra are lovely repertoire revivals' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Emily Beynon gives a dazzling account of the Flute Concerto … this is a lovely, loveable CD, and no one who likes a good tune should be without it' (Fanfare, USA)
The origins of the Concerto for String Orchestra are somewhat clear. Boughton composed it in 1937 for the Boyd Neel String Orchestra, probably in gratitude for their having included his Oboe Concerto in the concert at the Salzburg Festival (27 August 1937) which also saw the premiere of Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. Unfortunately he miscalculated. Boyd Neel’s players found it far too difficult, and the work had to wait until 11 September 1997 for its first performance, when the strings of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, under Alexander Polianichko, played it at the Glastonbury Arts Festival.

The work was originally titled ‘Four English Pieces’, and each movement had a title which gave a clue to its mood and nature: ‘English Overture’, ‘Scherzo at Dawn’, ‘Love Scene’, and ‘Hornpipe’. But it is not the work’s formal structures which matter – they are straightforward essays in statement, contrast and repetition; nor is the work’s thematic content out of the ordinary, being folkish and boldly diatonic for the most part, though not without certain chromatic excursions. What is remarkable is the music’s texture. Conceived mainly contrapuntally, this is adventuresome string writing of a very high order: elaborate divisis (including the use of solo instruments), trills and arpeggios, bowed and plucked strings, with and without mutes – in short, a veritable compendium of effects that render it a worthy companion to the great works for string orchestra by Elgar and Vaughan Williams, Britten and Tippett.

from notes by Michael Hurd © 2000

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