Contemporary English Trumpet ConcertosJOHN MCCABE (b.1939): La Primavera, ROBERT SAXTON (b.1953): Shakespeare Scenes, Psalm: A Song of Ascents, DEBORAH PRITCHARD (b.1977): Skyspace.
Catalogue Number: 01Q057
Description: Pritchard's work consists of seven short movements inspired by James Turrell's 'skypaces', specially constructed enclosures from which viewers observe the changing colors of the sky through an opening. The composer, who experiences color synaesthetically, evokes the sensations of this extreme concentration on natural light phenomena through luminous timbres and textures, contrasting the vivid gleam of the piccolo trumpet with layers of ensemble material ranging from warmly translucent to shadowy opacity in the lowest registers. Saxton's Psalm has a ceremonial air, increasing in intensity, with the prominent solo part as a kind of celebrant, leading the ensemble in prayers and ultimately an ecstatic dance of praise. Saxton's idiom - a persistently modally inflected extended tonality - is very distinctive, both here and in the character studies of Shakespeare Scenes, evoking Puck, Falstaff, Lear, a masque and Prospero and Caliban. This work, written some twenty years after Psalm, has a stronger sense of tonal movement, and a magically evocative atmosphere, redolent of Shakespeare's complex, fantastical visionary world. McCabe's piece is the closest thing to a conventional concerto here, in three succinct movements, exuberant; mysterious and sensual, featuring the mellow, glowing timbre of the flugelhorn; and lively and bright-toned. The percussion plays an important accompanying role throughout, giving rise to some imaginative and unexpected textures, and the flugelhorn movement subtly pays tribute to the unique sound of Miles Davis. Simon Desbruslais (trumpet), Orchestra of the Swan; Kenneth Woods, David Curtis.