Reconstructing the image
PETER DICKINSON listens to world première recordings
of music by Constant Lambert
<< Continued from page 1
The Andante is a lovely example of the tender lyrical side of Lambert
- Easterbrook calls it 'possibly the most beautiful thing he ever wrote'
- and there's some characteristic rhythmic ingenuity as well. [listen - track 8, 0:00-0:29].
The epic quality returns in the finale with genuine drama. It's a fine
vehicle for the soloist and David Owen Norris makes the most of the solo
part throughout. [listen - track 9, 2:32-3:03].
In spite of its early date, all this is recognisably the Lambert who
was soon to produce Rio Grande, his masterpiece steeped in Latin-American
idioms, as well as the Piano Sonata and the Concerto for Piano and Nine
Instruments, which draw more deeply on jazz.
The next most rewarding novelty on this CD is Prize-Fight, Lambert's
first ballet, from the same period - brilliantly scored, witty and infectiously
enjoyable. A kind of Cockney Petroushka. How incomprehensible that
it had to wait some fifty years for a performance and even longer to be
danced. The Suite 'Merchant Seamen' comes from a 1940 war-time documentary
film-score. This is a reminder of how the major composers of the day contributed
to film music with distinction. Lambert functions convincingly in a polished
the ballet score Pomona is a bonus to add to the three novelties
on this CD. With this score the precocious Lambert followed up his Diaghilev
commission, Romeo and Juliet, with a set of dances largely in restrained
The whole release, decently recorded and with excellent notes from Easterbrook,
provides ammunition for a revision of the conventional estimate of Lambert.
He can now be placed firmly in the main stream of British composers from
the 20s to the end of the 40s where he belongs. He's a larger figure as
a result and we've gained some attractive music which was completely unknown.
Copyright © 6 February 2000 Peter
Dickinson, Aldeburgh, UK
PURCHASE THIS CD FROM AMAZON (+ FURTHER MUSIC EXTRACTS)
PURCHASE THIS CD FROM CROTCHET
CD INFORMATION FOR ASV CD WHL 2122
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