PETER FRIBBINS (b.1969): Piano Concerto (Diana Brekalo [piano], Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Robertas Servenikas), String Quartet No. 2 "After Cromer" (Chilingirian Quartet), 2 Fantasias for Viola and Piano (Sarah-Jane Bradley [viola], Anthony Hewitt [piano]), A Haydn Prelude for Piano (Hewitt).
Catalogue Number: 01O081
Reference: GMCD 7381
Description: The concerto is a substantial work in traditional 3-movement form. As suggested by the fateful lines from the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam that preface it, the work is in predominantly serious, often sombre mood. The first movement consists of constantly varied metamorphoses of a mournful little theme heard at the outset, and runs the gamut from wistful expressiveness to forceful vigor. The slow movement is gently elegiac, with intermittent attempts to move the argument along with distant fanfares like the 'bugles echoing from sad shires' in Britten's War Requiem. The finale begins decisively, interrupts itself to recall the mood of the first movement and then progresses via a vigorous fugue to a powerful conclusion. Fribbins' idiom is resolutely tonal, though with a constant sense of the unexpected forestalling any suggestion of harmonic predictability. The quartet is also traditionally structured, with a varied and dramatic first movement, an elegantly contrapuntal slow movement, lively and lighthearted scherzo and energetic finale full of unusual ensemble textures, all based on the 19th-century hymn tune Cromer. The Fantasias draw on two folk tunes of very different traditions, elaborately ornamented and varied in gently melancholy mood. The little Prelude, a joint tribute to Haydn and his indefatigable interpreter, John McCabe, weaves soft, misty textures around fragmentary phrases from two Haydn sonatas.