RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (1936-2012): Volume 4 - Piano Concerto, Anniversaries, Country Dances (Book 1), Aubade, Troubadour Music.

Catalogue Number: 05V009

Label: Chandos

Reference: CHSA 5244

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $18.98

Description: The big work here is the 1968 piano concerto. A chance meeting with Stephen Kovacevich provided Bennett with a willing soloist, and the work was premiered in Birmingham in September that year. Fellow composer Anthony Payne’s judgment was unequivocal: ‘It’s a bloody good work.’ Commissioned in 1982 for the sixtieth anniversary of the BBC, Anniversaries is the other major work. A brilliantly virtuosic concerto for orchestra, the eleven-section work loosely follows the form of a theme and variations, although it also shows glimpses of a symphonic structure. Dedicated to his close friend Irwin Bazelon who was also sixty that year, the score is a playful and joyous celebration, as well as an orchestral tour de force. In the 1990s, his decision to quit smoking led Bennett to experience a serious creative block. He found a route out of this by immersing himself in English baroque and medieval music. The Country Dances (Book 1), from 2000-01, are based on folk dances from John Playford’s anthology “The English Dancing Master”. Troubadour Music was written for John Mauceri’s final season at the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in 2006, and is based on a thirteenth-century minstrel song. Michael McHale (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; John Wilson.


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