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SKILFUL MANOEUVRES

The art of John Gardner
with BASIL RAMSEY


ASV    CD WHL 2125

Record Box

 

CD INFORMATION - 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

 

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CD INFORMATION - ASV CD WHL 2125

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews