Thursday, March 30, 2017

Carwithen, Doreen. (1922-2003) Orchestral works. Top recommendation.

From my collection.
Bought in 2010.
First listen: 23-2-2010.
Second listen: 10-4-2014.
Third listen: 30-3-2017.
Label Chandos.
Recording dates: May 1996.
Recording venue: Blackheath Concert Halls.
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Running time: 57:35.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.
Reference performance.
State of the art recording.

Works performed: 


ODTAA. ( One damn Thing after Another) Overture.
Concerto for Piano and Strings.
Bishop Rock.
Suffolk Suite.

Performed by:


Howard Shelley, Piano.
London SO, Richard Hickox.




[ She is mostly remembered of being the wife of William Alwyn, but as a composer she was forgotten quickly because she was a woman, despite the fact that all her compositions were awarded with prizes Publishers were not interested in a female composer.]


There's a gal to surprise you, and how! She is more than a match to the male counterparts, and much better looking too! Her music is like a thunderbolt, that crashes in with such force, depositing a very pleasant currency to run through your body, that makes your mind positively explode with joy. So, there you have it, prime music in a very distinctive manner. The Female touch, sensitive, prone to large surges of passion of some considerable duration. It pushes many buttons in my musical senses, some of them even unknown to me.  Well with the overture ODTAA opening the disc, she delivers her calling card with flying colours. There is no doubt that this work, short in duration has a lengthening effect on your musical intellect. For you sense there is creative intellect at work. A woman that knows exactly where to go with her inspiration. Its a gasping matter that takes 8 minutes before you can close your mouth again. Its followed by a work that distributes the powerful message evenly over three movements, the Allegro assai being the rhythmical foreplay towards the Lento movement. It bashes your senses around, as if apples falling from a tree, ripe and ready to be eaten. So delicious that you might overeat yourself, but who cares for tummy ache, if the pleasure in eating them is so tantalizing. There are some magical pearls between 9:00 and 10:21, that are gripping you forcefully, only to be slashed free from it, by the powerful entry of the piano. Masterly done. And O, boy the Lento movement. Just image Arvo Part, and you have the musical image for what comes. Its as if its floating inches above ground, music that seems to be free of restrictions, or borders, not touching anything but itself. And all of a sudden the tone hardens into some sort of passionate admonition as not to get lost in the undescriptive, but soon it sinks again into this untouchable atmosphere, that envelops you like a cloth of the finest silk, which you barely feel.  The third movement is back on earth, with a very decisive musical motif, that washes away all remnants of what has gone before. A brilliant piece!
Bishop Rock, really rocks. It brings you back in the same realm as the ODTAA overture, brilliantly scored, and full creativity, with a positive drive.
Suffolk Suite was a commissioned piece for a youth orchestra with limited possibilities. She has listen to them before writing this piece, and although it's kept simple in structure, it boosts some gorgeous melodies. I especially loved the Suffolk Morris jig, you can not keep your feet from tapping along, and when this lament on the clarinet comes by, you positively are going to cry some wee tears. Don't worry, you soon get back to feet tapping. Its thoughtfully scored,.... how to make out of little a lot. Goes to show what a fine and sensitive female composer she was.
The performance is first rate, and the recording demonstration class.



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