Derek B. Scott: Orchestral Music, Vol. 3. DEREK B. SCOTT (b. 1950) : Wilberforce: Tone-Poem, Op.43(1983/2022), Salisbury Plain: Fantasy for Horn and Orchestra, Op. 1 (1972/2022), Lament, Op. 8 (1977, rev. 2022), Fibrillation Fantasy, Op. 41 (2022), Pavane, Op. 42 (2022), The Warning Song :Tone-Poem, Op. 44 (1985/2022), Reminiscence: Rondo for Orchestra, Op. 45 (1971/2022), Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 40 (1972/2021). IngusNovicāns,horn; Līga Baltābola and Jānis Baltābols, violins; Klāvs Jankevics, cello, Gertruda Jerjomenko, harpsichord, Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann, conductor.

Catalogue Number: 09Z011

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: HTGCD 146

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Derek Scott, born in Birmingham in 1950, has an international reputation as an historian of the British music hall and other forms of light entertainment. But he is an outstanding composer in his own right – a master craftsman and natural tunesmith, who manages to unite good humour, unerring technique and deep feeling in music of immediate appeal. Although the works recorded here represent his most recent orchestral music, for many of them he revisited material composed earlier in his career, using it as the basis for a series of new scores, some exhibiting a very English sense of whimsy, others concerned with deeper matters – one, indeed, inspired by the war in Ukraine. When we welcomed his splendid disc of symphonies (08Y008), we described Scott as "naturally gifted musician with an encyclopædic view of music history and a sure sense of his place in it. Scott states his position with polemical assurance and eloquent erudition in his notes, and it is an unusual one that might be described as post-unfashionable … using his vast knowledge of music intended for pure entertainment - “light music" - and popular music, combined with his unassailable compositional technique, he is concerned more with producing pleasurable responses in the listener than in imposing some (often tortured) world-view upon them. It helps that he is one of great tunesmiths of our time, his melodies as assimilable and memorable as any of the most enduring pop music, rendered with the orchestral sophistication of the finest classical composers. His idiom is tonal, but not exclusively imitative of his classical models; the harmonies of popular music, "English light music" and jazz are frequently suggested". All of this applies to this immensely appealing collection of orchestral works, composed or revised in the past several years, but mostly based on earlier music. The tone poem "Wilberforce", a musical sketch of the great Abolitionist, is a perfect example of Scott's craft. Beginning heroically and ending triumphantly, the work is tuneful and characterful, evoking the struggles, setbacks, and eventual success of the movement to abolish the slave trade. There is a Caribbean calypso, for local colour, and Scott uses the saxophone as a standard member of the wind section, frequently in a prominent rôle. A narratively gripping delight. The Lament, from 1977 but revised in 2022, is described by the composer, with apparent embarrassment, as "indicat[ing] my interest in musical modernism. In that decade, I often felt torn between a modernist and a popular direction. The year 1977 was not a happy one for me … and I thought modernist techniques were the best way to convey authentic musical emotion." He need not be overly concerned; if this is modernism then Thomas Adès, Matthew Taylor, Huw Watkins, et al. are avant-gardists. The piece is serious without being lugubrious, and what it lacks in "light music" joie de vivre it makes up for in depth of elegiac expression, dramatic contour, and yes, authentic musical emotion." One can appreciate what the composer is getting at, though, by listening to the 2022 Pavane, which shares these same characteristics and was inspired by a very serious subject indeed; the tragedy of the war in Ukraine. It achieves its powerful eloquence through the device of a slow-stepping, sombre pavane, "a sixteenth-century European slow processional dance that is often associated with funerals", in variation form. The composer’s sense of humour is to be enjoyed in the lively Fibrillation Fantasy, a jaunty and energetic work inspired by a medical misfortune suffered by the composer in 2019, commemorated by the persistent groups of 4 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 5 quavers throughout the piece, and featuring unorthodox directions including "Con atrio eccitato” (With excited atrium), and "Sentirsi meglio ma non tutto bene" (Feeling better but not entirely OK)! Like Wilberforce, The Warning Song is a tone-poem based on music from a previous stage work by the composer. Here political satire, a plea for nuclear disarmament, and a lament for victims of nuclear tests are combined in music of ready accessibility and tuneful memorability. The engaging rondo, Reminiscence, and the Concerto Grosso are recent works that draw on youthful indiscretions of the 1970s, the latter a delightful Baroque pastiche that mixes "Handelian elements with quirky harmonic patterns", as ingenious as it is entertaining. IngusNovicāns,horn; Līga Baltābola and Jānis Baltābols, violins; Klāvs Jankevics, cello, Gertruda Jerjomenko, harpsichord, Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann, conductor.

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