I have known Patric Standford since his early days as a composer - and
readers are getting to know him through occasional record reviews for M&V.
It is very pleasing for me to find his imaginative qualities
again set out, this time in a masque in five scenes for chorus and orchestra.
It took first prize in the First International Composers' Competition set
up by the Kodaly Institute in memory of Kodaly's death. This work now shares
a CD with the second and third prizewinners - Peter Knell and The Sun's
Blinking Eye and Róbert Gulya with a Piano Concerto.
Standford's The Prayer of Saint Francis Interrupted by the Birds firstly
displays its quality through a richly embroidered canvas of orchestral colour
upon which is superimposed the chorus with a broader style of writing. That
these two aspects of the work blend without problems illustrates the hand
of an experienced as well as skilful composer. In some ways this piece required
a musical illustrator to delineate the saint's prayer to the elements [listen - track 6, 00:00-01:00], the arrival of the
birds [listen - track 7, 01:00-01:43] and the
final homage to God [listen - track 8, 00:00-01:00].
Yet all is accomplished with musical penetration of the events caught up
and blended to a fine mix. A most satisfying work from a composer who is
far too hidden from view.
Copyright © 23 February 2000 Basil
Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
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