The art of John Gardner
with BASIL RAMSEY
ASV CD WHL 2125
John Gardner, in his eighties, first caught notice as a composer with
his first symphony at the Cheltenham Festival in the UK in 1951. Now with
a new CD of his orchestral music, including a 1996 orchestral suite at opus
231, some idea of his industry is apparent.
I have heard works from his pen over the years, always with pleasure
at such command of a language within bounds, and such skill at scoring within
bounds. These bounds are not of expertise but the basics which fuel a composer's
music and therefore the temperature at which it will blister our ears. John
Gardner delights at providing delight through his music.
This CD includes his third symphony from 1989, a skilfully-worked exercise
in symphonic writing, but short of the assertive thrust of a composer whose
entire being is caught up in the task of capturing his musical thoughts
on paper. This statement sounds exaggerated until you hear music that has
been given life by such composers. It is the story of musical pioneering
and development down the ages.
An Irish Suite of 'songs' and a reel is a near-perfect
example of tunes in Nationalistic dress, sumptiously paraded or danced as
the case maybe. The finale of Sinfonia Piccola concludes with a delightful
example of Gardner frolicking with teasing material. In such moods he is
found hugely enjoying the freedom of his mastery. Likewise, the gentler
music provides charm [listen - track
12, 1:09 - 1:59].
Copyright © 19 July 2000
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - ASV CD WHL 2125
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