SALLY BEAMISH (b.1956): Symphony No. 1, Violin Concerto, Callisto for Flute and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 09M087
Description: The symphony was Beamish's first orchestral work, and it finds the mature composer taking to the medium completely naturally and searching out the unusual tone colors that have become a recognizable trademark of her subsequent orchestral output. The work is basically tonal, with a structure based on variation forms related to the traditional Scottish bagpipe Pibroch, also a recurring feature in the composer's music. The concerto takes its inspiration from episodes in Remarque's novel 'All Quiet on the Western Front', with its vivid, poetic descriptions of the imagery and emotions of war. The composer has distilled this into three intense movements, somber in tone but richly textured and expressive; the first dramatic, the second lamenting and the finale, ironic, all with a strong narrative melodic thread and many felicitous touches of orchestration. Callisto is a 'mini-opera', with four members of the flute family representing stages in the transformation of the nymph of the title, with other roles taken by other instruments of the orchestra. Anthony Marwood (violin), Sharon Bezaly (flute), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins.