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Cat. No. CHAN 10377 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10377 - MacMillan: Piano Concerto No. 2/ A Scotch Bestiary
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Available From: 01 June 2006
Composed in 2004 as a specially commissioned ballet score for New York City Ballet, Piano Concerto No.2 comprises three movements: cumnock fair, shambards and shamnation. The work here receives its world premiere recording. It is a highly energetic work – a frenzy of folksong and dance; the first movement, cumnock fair, is a whirling fantasy of eighteenth-century Scottish dance melodies; shambards makes use of Burnsian folksong with fragments of the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor drifting in and out of focus; shamnation is heavily influenced by Scottish folklore, often quite devilish. ‘For sheer visceral excitement… this half-romp, half tantrum of a work is hot stuff’, wrote the times.

A Scotch Bestiary was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic to inaugurate the new organ in the Disney Hall in Los Angeles. This is a concertante work for organ (an instrument rarely used by contemporary composers) and orchestra, in two parts, and follows in a tradition of musical portraiture to which Elgar, Saint-Saëns and Mussorgsky have made significant contributions.
Reviews

MacMillan was never so entertaining or Provocative as on this disc. Piano Concerto No. 2 is based on Scottish dances and MacMillan’s concern is to awake the Scots from the unreality of the twee heritage of a ‘sham nation’. The Bestiary is a Mussorgsky-like parade among zoo cages for full orchestra and organ. Marshall conjures up some very unchuchy sounds on the huge Bridgewater Hall instrument, especially for the bee and howling jackass.
The Times

In both works Wayne Marshall covers himself in glory, as, for that matter, does the BBC Philharmonic under the composer’s direction. The sound is superlative to match. MacMillan’s legion of admirers needn’t hold back.
Gramophone

Wayne Marshall’s performance is irresistible,. The work will simply blow your socks off! There is so much to hear; you’ll want to listen to it again and again…
The Organ

James MacMillan conducting brilliant performances of his own exhilarating variations for organ and orchestra and Piano Concerto
Gramophone 2006 Critic’s Choice

Review of A Scotch Bestiary: The piece was certainly fun: riotous, at times cacophonous, wittily orchestrated and cleverly structured. It also brilliantly integrated the organ into the orchestra proper. All these things and more merged in the work’s second half, a crazy but exciting amalgram…
Los Angeles Daily News

MacMillan was never so entertaining or provocative as on this disc. Piano Concerto No. 2 is based on Scottish dances and MacMillan’s concern is to awake Scots from the unreality of the twee heritage of a ‘sham nation’. The Bestiary is a Mussorgsky-like parade among the zoo cages for full orchestra and organ. Marshall conjures some very unchurchy sounds on the huge Bridgewater Hall instrument, especially for the bee and howling jackass.
The Times

This is fun- two recent works from Scottish composer James MacMillan that make Sassnachs Wayne Marshall and the BBC Philharmonic trip the Highland Fling. A Scotch Bestiary is MacMillan’s Carnival of the Animals, flamboyantly scored for organ and orchestra, and a work where reference to Mussorgsky, Elgar, Wagner and Messiaen’s bird song are tossed into a fantastical stew.
Classic FM Magazine

It’s [A Scotch Bestiary] all brought off with tremendous zest by Wayne Marshall and the BBC Philharmonic under the composer’s direction; but they’re just as much at home in the contemplative, painfully affectionate parts of the concerto.
BBC Music Magazine

 

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