Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

Record Box

Worth a challenge

William Schuman's music,
with BASIL RAMSEY


Naxos    8.559083

William Schuman: Violin Concerto (p) 2001 HNH International Ltd

 

William Schuman's concerto is more a symphony for violin and orchestra, teeming with ripe material and taking time to digest it thoroughly [listen -- track 1, 1:00-1:45]. Two movements split the operation between them, both laying out material and development, a highly organized procedure giving the protagonists whoops of joy forcing the tension that crackles as it charges the atmosphere. Schuman lays out his battle plans with precision, as well as providing moments bestowed with tenderness.

Schuman's New England Triptych based on William Billings' hymn tunes treats them with his own brand of imagination [listen -- track 3, 1:33-2:26]. Essentially evocative, the score is rich in colour applied to unusual textures. The basic tunes spring out of the score either boldly or with some vestige of camouflage.

The last track contains what I've always disliked -- Ives' Variations on 'America'. Schuman's scoring cannot change the music or the basic tune. But I may be isolated in my feeling. José Serebrier writes the notes as well as directing the Bournemouth Symphony, so may have a special interest in Schuman. Philip Quint is the brilliant and perceptive soloist in the challenging concerto.

 

Copyright © 8 August 2001 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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