PAUL CARR (b.1961): Four New Seasons, Saxophone Concerto. Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir, Rob Burton; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Gavin Carr.
Catalogue Number: 11Y036
Label: Stone Records
Description: We've welcomed Carr's sumptuously Romantic, emotionally compelling sacred choral works before (02P097, 09N084) and the delicious compositional alchemy of Four New Seasons offers a similar deeply gratifying listening experience, in the secular realm. Like many of us, Carr encountered Vivaldi's perennially delightful Four Seasons early in his career, and in this work he adds his voice to the many arrangements and interpretations of the work that have appeared over the years, in an entirely new composition that also serves as a masterly act of transcription. Variously taking the harmonic structures, forms, and in a few places direct quotations of instantly recognisable thematic fragments and motifs from Vivaldi, Carr has fashioned a neo-Romantic choral work of his own, expanding on the atmosphere of Vivaldi’s concerti by setting perfectly chosen poems by ten writers as diverse in their evocative imagery as Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. The genial, immensely attractive Saxophone Concerto is the composer’s arrangement of his Oboe Concerto (available on 11K107, played by the dedicatee, Nicholas Daniel). As we said of that version, the concerto treads "that fine and wonderful line the British straddle so well between "light" and "serious" music", with a lively, playful opening movement and a flowing finale which combines warmth and energy with autumnal colours in an evocation of summer's end, foreshadowing the vivid tone-painting of the Four New Seasons. The slow movement, "The Unusual Quietness of Snow", by contrast, is elegiac and deeply moving, commemorating the consoling effect of a late-season snowfall at a difficult time in the composer’s life as he awaited the imminent and inevitable death of his mother.