ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): The Land: A Suite for Orchestra, Concertino for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Symphony for Double String Orchestra, Music for Wind and Brass.
Catalogue Number: 03N009
Reference: LNT 133
Description: The Land and the Concertino are early works, from the composer's twenties, and both show a gifted young composer with an emerging original voice writing very accomplished works not yet free of the very audible influence of Vaughan Williams. The four movements of The Land illustrate imagery from a poem by Vita Sackville-West, in sensitive and vivid atmospheric tone-painting. The little Concertino opens with an engaging first movement, followed by a pastoral, misty slow movement with the same kind of impression of time and place quality that distinguishes The Land, and the piece ends with a lively finale full of youthful high spirits. 1966's Music for a 20-piece ensemble, has more of the economical, even astringent quality of Maconchy's maturity, with a strong sense of structure and coherent unity. The language is still very tonal, though, with the sonorous potential of the ensemble fully exploited in a mysterious opening processional, a lively scherzando, lyrical interlude and jubilant finale. The symphony is a tautly argued, serious work in four movements, with an expressive contrapuntal interchange of ideas, accentuated by ingenious antiphonal use of the divided ensemble varying the traditional symphonic structure. A decisive first movement is followed by a lyrical Lento, a lively, elegant scherzo and a weighty Passacaglia finale, initially somber and pastoral, with gathering momentum and a serene conclusion. Clelia Iruzun (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Odaline de la Martinez.