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The composer Robert Saxton (born 1953) tells us that Krystallen (1973) was a Milan commission and was first performed by pianist Clifford Benson in a BBC Radio 3 broadcast concert. 'I was writing a brief three-voice "invention" or study and attempting to organise a coherant and cohesive polyphony employing the total chromatic.' This partially came from studying with Elisabeth Lutyens. It is another Susan Milan dedication.

Eleven (1999), originally for flute and harp, stands for 'alive' in Hungarian, and this piece by Cecilia McDowall (born 1951) is dedicated 'to all those who are in danger of losing their cultural identity, in the hope that they can keep their voice alive'. The work is continuous and involves the use of slides and glissandi. The flute tone is the sound of the lamenting human voice.

Matthew Taylor (born 1964) dedicated Images in Spring (1993) to flautist Emily Beynon. It's in four movements: exuberant with an energetic vivace and a lyrical middle section, a flowing andante, a lively presto and a serene adagio. Taylor was influenced by Robert Simpson and, on the latter's death, composed an Adagio for String Quartet in tribute.

The encore was Richard Rodney Bennett's Summer Music.

Throughout the evening I was aware of the stillness of both artists during the entire concert, with each piece leading onto the next in line and context. Courage and fortitude were obviously part of the overall plan between rehearsal and presentation, and the performances were outstanding.

Copyright © 10 March 2007 Bill Newman, Edgware UK




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