THEA MUSGRAVE (b.1928): Turbulent Landscapes (BBC Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä), Songs for a Winter's Evening for Soprano and Orchestra (Lisa Milne [soprano], BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Vänskä), Two's Company for Percussion, Oboe and Orchestra (Evelyn Glennie [percussion], Nicholas Daniel [oboe], BBC SO; Jirí Belohlávek).
Catalogue Number: 08L092
Reference: D 153
Description: 2003's Landscapes is a remarkably vivid suite of six movements inspired by paintings by Turner, the extraordinary luminous quality of which is marvellously evoked by Musgrave's urgent, dramatically tense music. The music is tonal, related to the familiar genre of British landscape-painting in music but wholly original-sounding and full of the most felicitous touches of sumptuous yet transparent orchestration that recall the painter's unique textural idiom. The Robert Burns settings describe a life cycle, incorporating a recognisably Scottish folk idiom into Musgrave's individual contemporary idiom. The double concerto, for as dissimilar a pair of soloists as it is possible to get, makes the most of the contrast , not least by employing the technique of movement around the orchestra that the composer has used elsewhere to highlight the drama of their initial conflict and distance from each other, and eventual union. The progress of the music, from lonely beginnings through playful flirtation and frustrated aggression to impassioned exultation is a miracle of narration without words, as clear to follow as any text.