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Strathclyde Concertos Import


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1. Strathclyde Con No.5 for vn, va and str orch: Adagio/Allegro moderato
2. Strathclyde Con No.5 for vn, va and str orch: Allegro moderato
3. Strathclyde Con No.5 for vn, va and str orch: Allegro-Piu lento
4. Strathclyde Con No.6 for fl and orch: Andante-Allegro moderato
5. Strathclyde Con No.6 for fl and orch: Adagio
6. Strathclyde Con No.6 for fl and orch: Allegro-Andante

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Makes me want to hear the rest of the series 30 Mar. 2009
By Discophage - Published on Amazon.com
As the liner notes to this disc contain no overall information on the series of Maxwell Davies' Strathclyde Concertos but only descriptions of the two specific concertos at hand, here is a summary of the exceptionally informative article that you you may find on the invaluable, free and people-processed internet encyclopedia: the Strathclyde Concertos are a series of ten orchestral works that were commissioned by the Strathclyde Regional Council, each work featuring an instrumental soloist and small orchestra. The first concerto, for oboe and orchestra, appeared in 1986, with the tenth and last work, for full orchestra ten years later. Ironically Strathclyde Council was abolished that same year. The plan was that each concerto was to be used as a teaching tool. As each concerto was finished, a young composer chosen by the Council would visit the schools in a particular region of Strathclyde and would address the students concerning the concerto and the process of its composition. Then, the students would be asked to create compositions of their own. Also, the soloist for each concerto would visit the schools in the region and discuss the concerto from the performer's point of view.
And, in case you wonder: Strathclyde (Srath Chluaidh in Gaelic, meaning "valley of the River Clyde") is one of nine former local government regions of Scotland created by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and abolished in 1996 by the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994.

Maxwell Davies is a highly productive composer and I kind of expected these works to be moderately inspired, if not hackneyed: quantity against quality, as it were. Not so. Strathclyde Concerto No.5 for Violin, Viola and String Orchestra is an exceptionally beautiful work, brooding, tensely lyrical, and the relative homogeneity of timbre has compelled MD to conjure wonderfully imaginative, colorful and subtle sonorities, worthy of any Violin or Viola or Violin-Viola Concerto composed in the last quarter of the 20th Century.

By dint of the instrument the Flute Concerto is more hushed, contemplative, intimate, breezy and mysterious, which doesn't preclude moments of agitation. It showcases a highly voluble flute. According to the composer's custom in the series (except in the Violin-Viola-Strings Concerto), the orchestra does away with the flutes, as well as violins and oboes. The orchestral colors are accordingly slanted in the bass registers and often austere, and highlighted by the crystalline sonorities of the glockenspiel. The Concerto may not be as engaging as the previous one, but it is quite poetic nonetheless, and marked, in its subtly playful finale, by an almost French elegance.

This is my first encounter with the series of Strathclyde Concertos and makes me wish to hear the rest. With MD, quantity obviously does not contradict quality. Now that Collins is sadly gone, let us hope Naxos picks them up, as they have with other Collins recordings. TT 59:25.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
some notes on Strathclyde Concerto No. 6 1 Oct. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
As with the other concertos in the Strathclyde series, Peter Maxwell Davies' Strathclyde Concerto No. 6 for Flute and Orchestra was composed for performance by a principal player in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The work assumes a more carefree attitude than its predecessors, owing largely to one particular source for its inspiration: a painting by sixteenth-century artist Pieter Brueghel depicting crowds of children engaged in all manner of games and sport. Such imagery translates easily into the nimble, florid sound of the flute to create what is arguably the most listenable of the ten concertos in the series. This does not mean, however, that the work lacks any of the compositional rigor or expressive nuance found its companion concertos. "This piece...is perhaps the lightest of the Strathclydes," admits Davies, "but let us not forget that children feel things in their terms as intensely, or more intensely, than adults."
In first conceiving the Strathclyde series, Davies deliberately avoided the romantic notion of the soloist as protagonist in conflict with the forces of the orchestra. Rather, he sought to engage the soloist and orchestra in exploratory dialogue; the Flute Concerto is an especially non-confrontational work. Davies achieves this by eliminating from the orchestra any instruments that could potentially interfere with the soloist's timbre -- a device he introduced in the Strathclyde No. 1, for oboe, in which he benched both the oboes and the bassoons. Here takes the concept much farther, omitting the flutes, oboes, and, at the wise suggestion of soloist David Nicholson, the first and second violins. At the same time Davies highlights the solo part by punctuating or counterpoising it against elaborate lines in the glockenspiel, and by setting both in relief against the warm sonority of the bottom-heavy orchestra.
This concerto is cast in three movements. The first opens with a slow and simple introductory tune by the flute which, propelled by the glockenspiel, leads into an allegro section. Davies outlines a general sonata form here, though the recapitulation seems delayed until the flute cadenza, which revisits and revises the introductory material with a virtuosic flair. The slow middle movement takes an amorphous shape, its clearest features being the pointed clicks of the claves. The flute is joined eventually by the bassoon, which shadows the soloist in plaintive polyphony. The allegro finale elaborates a simple four-note motive within a playful dancelike setting enlivened by jaunty off beats on the tambourine. The soloist's explorations of this motive eventually arrive at a folk tune which, when played slowly and without obstruction, emerges as a transformation of the melody heard first in the slow introduction to the first movement. -- J. Neal (from the All Classical Guide)
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
some notes on Strathclyde Concerto No. 5 1 Oct. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
English composer Peter Maxwell Davies provides a poignant metaphor for the way in which various musical influences and elements interact in his Strathclyde Concerto No. 5 for Violin, Viola, and String Orchestra: multiple panes of glass, each containing a musical image, set parallel to each other at regular intervals, so that from a perpendicular perspective the viewer can shift focus from one layer to another, while never seeing one element in isolation from the rest.
In the case of this work, three particular musical forces exert themselves upon the overall sound. The first is the two-part song "Vanitas" by seventeenth-century composer and churchman Jan Albert Ban, who wrote the tune as a response to the opening lines of Ecclesiastes ("Vanity of vanities; all is vanity"). The second ingredient in the mix is the overture from Haydn's L'isola disabitata. The composer identifies the third element as his own inexorable style, which engages in a complex dialogue with the other two.
The music-historical dialogue taking place in the musical materials is counterpoised with a kind of homogenous interaction not often associated with the concerto genre -- characterized here by the scoring of the work for two soloists plus string orchestra. When Davies first settled upon the idea to write a cycle of concertos for the principal players in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (which he served as associate conductor/composer), his initial impulse was to create an integrated, less-confrontational concerto sound. In several of the concertos in the resulting Strathclyde series (so named after a region in west central Scotland), Davies accomplished this by eliminating from the orchestral roster the featured solo instrument (and sometimes others in its range), so that the soloist could easily navigate between spotlight and scrim. In the fifth concerto, however, Davies creates a timbrally fluid spectrum by including only strings -- leading one writer to describe the sound as "red highlights in a sound-picture of rich mahogany."
The work is set in three movements. The first is preceded by a kind of Adagio double introduction which presents Ban's theme and establishes Haydn's harmonic center, before initiating an Allegro moderato that borrows from both composers. The movement outlines a rough sonata form, but utilizes formal expectations to create dramatic tension -- as when an expected recapitulation leads instead into further explorations of both Ban's and Haydn's material. Both elements gradually fuse and become fuel for a kind of mechanical-sounding coda. The snippet from Haydn with which the second movement opens quickly cedes to a lyrical Adagio theme in the tutti strings. As this reaches a stirring climax, the solo viola emerges with its own melody, joined soon thereafter by the violin. The orchestra carries the movement to its crest, then settles in for another Haydn-esque moment. The movement ends in palindromic fashion, with a recollection of the initial melody followed by a punctuated answer to the opening Haydn reference. The work ends with a sonata-rondo that recombines the musical constituents further before exhausting its energy. -- J. Neal (from the All Classical Guide)
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