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Cat. No. CHAN 10337(2) X Price: £14 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 10337 - Dyson:Violin Concerto/ Children's Suite/Concerto leggiero/Concerto da camera/Concerto da chiesa
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Available From: 12 September 2005
If told that a man who was a teacher, broadcaster, author, administrator and public figure also composed in his spare time, we might be tempted to dismiss his music as ‘academic’. In Dyson’s case we would only have to listen to a few bars of any of the works presented here to find our expectations confounded. The prevailing temper is lyrical, even romantic; the scoring is masterly; there is a dramatic streak and a sense of colour: Dyson was a poet, not a pedant (he disliked pretentious solemnities of all kinds, within music and without). His Violin Concerto was completed in 1941.A modern concerto in four movements is comparatively unusual; the work has a quasi-symphonic scale. The arresting opening tutti is almost tragic in tone, while the violin’s entry is brooding and elegiac. The scherzo is a fast jig, the brilliant soloist rushing on in endless triplets. The slow movement calls for only muted strings while the finale is vigorous, one commentator wondering whether it took its origin in ‘thoughts of the sunny south’.

The four-movement suite for small orchestra, Children’s Suite after Walter de la Mare, evokes the nursery atmosphere that was popular at the time of its composition. In the opinion of The Sunday Times, it was ‘a charming work, and the best novelty we have had this season’.

The Concerto leggiero (1951) is Dyson’s only contribution to piano concerto literature – the first movement as tautly structured as any by Mozart and the elegiac slow movement, full of haunting melodic phrases, with a quasi-Mozartian concentration.

The Concerto da camera (i.e. secular) and Concerto da chiesa (i.e. sacred), both from about 1949, belong to a great English tradition of writing for strings. The former is athletic and muscular while the latter is founded mainly on old hymn melodies; towards the end there is a remarkable passage whose harmonic colours glow like a stained-glass window. Like the rest of Dyson’s music it is beautifully made and inflamed with his passion and spirit.
Reviews

Here is a CD that I recommend with all possible enthusiasm…
Gramophone on CHAN 9076

Lydia Mordkovitch’s playing is wonderfully polished and her feeling for Dyson’s line and phrasing is intelligently musical.
The Strad on Dyson’s Violin Concerto

 

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