ERIK CHISHOLM (1904-1965): Violin Concerto, Dance Suite for Orchestra and Piano, from From the True Edge of the Great World: Song of the mavis, Ossianic lay and Port a beul (orch. Chisholm).
Catalogue Number: 10T003
Reference: CDA 68208
Description: Chisholm was a fascinating enough figure when he was mainly known as a polymathic composer /pianist/organist/conductor/academic/tireless organiser and administrator; the man who brought Bartók, Hindemith, Casella, Sorabji, Medtner and others to depression-era Glasgow to perform their works. The more we hear of his music, though, the more he emerges as a highly original and first-rate composer in his own right. His idiom was tonal, though uniquely inflected by the modes of Indian and Scots traditional music. The half-hour, four-movement concerto is steeped in his fascination with Hindustani music, on which he became a considerable authority. The first movement is a mysterious passacaglia, in which the ground, and much of the accompanying material is based on Rāg Vasantee; however, the theme is 'telescoped' - contracted, then expanded - as the movement progresses, an ingenious structural device. A wildly celebratory dancelike scherzo, based on the same rāg, follows, then a sensuously expressive 'Aria', which uses an actual Indian melody. The finale is fugal, drawing on previous material - the multiple themes are a riotous whirlwind of multicultural celebration, somehow interlocking and co-existing with the utmost energetic enthusiasm. The Dance Suite is an earlier work, based on Chisholm's love of Scottish music and strongly indicative of how he came by the sometime sobriquet 'MacBartók'. The first movement is an athletic Highland reel, the second is based on Piobaireachd, the resonant 'great music' of the Highland bagpipes, and, in common with the original form, consists of variations. The third movement is a boisterous romp around a folk-like tune, and the finale a wildly energetic reel. The Preludes are the composer's delightfully inventive orchestrations of three piano works; a chirruping spring song; an incantatory archaic chant and a breathless reel. Matthew Trusler (violin), Danny Driver (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins.