ELISABETH LUTYENS (1906-1983): Présages for Solo Oboe, Op. 53, Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 52, String Trio, Op. 57, Verses of Love, Fantasie Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano, Op. 55 (Endymion), For Choir: The Country of the Stars, Op. 50, Motet (Excerpta Tractati Logico-Philosophici), Op. 27, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Exaudi; James Weeks).
Catalogue Number: 12I069
Description: Contrasting these works of Lutyens' maturity with much of what passes for avant garde inspiration now may make one nostalgic for the impeccable craftsmanship and uncompromising clear-sightedness of vision of the early second half of the 20th century. These chamber and choral works hail from her maturity, when she had found her own voice and thoroughly assimilated and adapted serial techniques to her own needs. All the pieces are concise, economical and share a gem-like clarity and impeccable sense of proportion, whether in Lutyens' answer to a Webern cantata, the Motet, which sets a selection of Wittgenstein's gnomic philosophical utterances in music that is both beautiful and logically precise, or the trios, which function like perfect Webernian miniaturisations of Romantic-era drama. The sheer eloquence and narrative logic of the composer's atonal chord progressions and concentrated, complex dialectical gestures was unusual at the time of writing, and remains so in her centenary year.