GERALDINE MUCHA (1917-2012): Piano Concerto, Overture to The Tempest, Macbeth Suite, Songs of John Webster for Soprano and Orchestra, 16 Variations on an Old Scottish Song for Solo Piano.

Catalogue Number: 12T009

Label: ArcoDiva

Reference: UP 0192 2 231

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Here's a composer biography that sounds like a novel. A young Scottish girl with precocious musical gifts who counted Beecham among her family's friends, was encouraged by Bax, and went on to study with Alan Bush and Alwyn. She went on to marry the writer Jiří Mucha, (who had previously been briefly married to Martinů's student and lover, the ill-fated Vítězslava Kaprálová), who was the son of the Art Nouveau painter, Alphonse Mucha, of whose legacy the couple became the guardians. She divided her time between Prague and London, and later, Scotland. She composed throughout her long life, never abandoning tonality, and her natural inclination was clearly toward Romanticism, though the influence of Bush in England and Martinů in Czechoslovakia lend a degree of mid-20th century astringency and neoclassical economy and tautness to her idiom, especially evident in the 1960 concerto, which is certainly more than a little indebted to Martinů. The Shakespearean overture and ballet suite, also from the 1960s, are in a similar idiom, alongside a certain Englishness reminiscent of Bush and Vaughan Williams. The Macbeth suite is a highly effective piece of neo-romantic dramatic program music. The language of the rather later songs, setting characteristically macabre 'vanities' by John Webster, is somewhat reminiscent of Constant Lambert (who many years earlier had been 'impressed' by an early score by Mucha), harder-edged than the earlier works as befits the bleakness of the poems. The attractive and inventive variations on "Ca' the yowes" reflects her lifelong love of Scottish music, and is a distinguished entry in the time-honoured tradition of folksong transcription. Texts included. Ivana Troupová (soprano), Patricia Goodson (piano), Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra; Andreas Sebastian Weiser.

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