ALAN BUSH (1900-1995): Lascaux Symphony (Symphony No. 4), Op. 98, Dorian Passacaglia and Fugue, Op. 52, Dance Overture, Op. 12.
Catalogue Number: 01O006
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7294
Description: Bush's 42-minute symphony was inspired by the famous French cave paintings (which he got a special chance to see in 1982, years after they'd been closed to the public, right before beginning his composition). Each movement has a descriptive title - "The Wild", "The Children" (the scherzo), "Ice Age Remembered" (the slow, glacial, wintry movement and filmic in its quality) and "Mankind Emergent" (a theme-and-six-variations finale) - but these are not musical representations, merely guides for the mood the composer wished to express. Significant is the presence of an obbligato piano part throughout, representing "Man". Finished in 1983, it was premiered three years later. Equally impressive is the 1959 Passacaglia and Fugue, coming from the high point of Bush's period when he concentrated on developing a "national" style; from filigree work to molten climaxes, this will not disappoint collectors of this regal genre. The earliest work here is the 1930 Dance Overture, written originally for military band and orchestrated five years later. It's what its title promises and the presence of alto and tenor saxophones in the orchestration helps recall the era. Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martin Yates.