John Ireland 70th birthday concert, 10 September 1949 by ProQuest


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									with such natural sympathy and           Alan Rawsthorne. Here we have           hear his symphony as Barbirolli       second study. It sounds as if the
understanding.                           it in its original version for piano,   and the Hallé performed it at the     instrument was in the back of his
    Commissioned for the Festival        strings and percussion, which           1958 Proms. This is an import-        mind all through his brassy
of Britain in 1951, Howard               focuses the attention even more         ant historical document, which        playing years of 1949-61, but it
Ferguson’s Concerto for Piano            than does the revised, full-orch-       adds tremendously to the value of     didn’t crystallize until much later
Strings emerges sadly as a tribute       estral version upon its Prokofiev-      this double-album. I remember         when a sonata and this concerto
to that gentle academic’s retentive      like clarity of thought. Its perf-      reading somewhere that Barbirolli     of 1988-92 followed each other.
ear for the plethora of music he         ormance here is both zippy and          offered the composer the baton            The concerto is another sub-
knew. It begins and ends with            thoughtful, and it’s worth buying       for the symphony’s premiere in        stantial structure (nearly 40’)
music which surely evokes the            the disc for this alone – and for       1957, which Butterworth sensibly      though for its form Butterworth
recently-completed Clarinet              the delicious, almost obscene quote     declined. As you listen to this       evidently felt the need to look no
Concerto by his great friend             from Constant Lambert cited in          inspired performance, with the        further than the traditional three
Gerald Finzi, though the main            Bruce Phillips’ lively insert-notes.    mercurial ‘JB’ bringing all his       separate movements on fast-slow-
motif of the opening movement            Christopher Morley                      personal qualities to bear on its     fast lines. The slow central
is genuinely memorable. But                                                      big-boned, outspoken utterances,      movement is a dark affair, which
there are aromas of much else,           Arthur Butterworth:                     you realise just how right he was.    impresses as an extended improv-
too, and I do wish the formalist         Symphony No.1 Op.15(a);                 It is a performance in a thousand,    isation: much of it is given over
Ferguson hadn’t felt obliged to          Symphony No.4 Op.72 (b);                and one that the composer could       to a solo cadenza, with occasional
include a gratuitous cadenza to          Viola Concerto Op.82 (b)(c).            not really have hoped to emulate.     orchestral interjections, that
round off the first movement.            Talk by Arthur Butterworth. (a)         In a clear and lucid booklet note     follows a lengthy period of
Such showy devices had reached           Hallé Orchestra, conductor Sir          he describes the symphony’s           (relative) orchestral inactivity.
their sell-by date at the end of the     John Barbirolli. (b) Royal Scottish     genesis in the Scottish highlands     Sarah-Jane Bradley’s approach
19th century (the Elgar                  National Orchestra conducted            and owns again, as he always has      and her rich tone are ideally
mentioned later is a tremendous          by the composer; (c) Sarah-Jane         done, to the influences of Sibelius   suited to this kind of music and
exception).                              Bradley, viola. (a) Recorded Royal      and Nielsen on his music. That        she is equal to everything,
    The Eclogue by Finzi himself         Albert Hall, London 29 August           may all be true, but it is a good,    including the tense and vivid
is far more genuine in its effect, a     1958; (b) (c) Henry Wood Hall,          individual symphony which had         pages that build to conclude the
grave rumination which hints at          Glasgow 30-31 May 2008.                 the promenade audience cheering       concerto. There is also a 27’ talk
deeper feelings beneath a gener-         ★★★★ / ★★★★★                            lustily as, one gathers, the Chelt-   by the composer, recorded in
ally serene surface. Its perform-        Dutton CDLX7212                         enham audience did too. “I wish       2008.
ance from Bebbington and the             [2 hours 35 minutes] :                  I could write another like it,” he    Lyndon Jenkins
CBSO strings gives its qualities         2 discs for the price of one.           said to me once in his forthright,
full value. Then comes a curios-                                                 unassuming way. This was 25           John Ireland 70th birthday
ity: the Concertino in G minor                 rthur Butterworth (b.1923)        years ago when he was working         concert, 10 September 1949
by Frederic Austin, whom we
chiefly remember as the musical
                                         A     produced his fourth symph-
                                         ony 20 years ago. No.1 became
                                                                                 on his fourth symphony, which
                                                                                 he conducts here. In it he says he
                                                                                                                       A London Overture; Piano
                                                                                                                       Concerto in E flat; The Forgotten
arranger of Nigel Playfair’s famous      famous when Sir John Barbirolli,        aimed ‘to revert to the more          Rite; These things shall be.
production of John Gay’s The             in whose Hallé Orchestra Butter-        exuberant and dramatic manner         Ei
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