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Thomas Wilson: a chamber portrait
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1. Cancion for Guitar - Allan Neave
2. Piano Sonata - Simon Smith
3. Piano Trio - Various Performers
4. Three Pieces for Guitar - Allan Neave
5. String Quartet No. 3 - Edinburgh Quartet
6. Incunabula - Simon Smith
An influential figure both personally and musically, Thomas Wilson (19272001) was the leading light in a group of composers whose vision and technical assurance brought an international modernism into 20th-century Scottish music. In the chamber works collected here, moments of extraordinary stillness continually release into fast, propulsive music whose compelling energies are matched by the individual and collective virtuosity of pianist Simon Smith, guitarist Allan Neave and the Edinburgh Quartet.
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on 6 June 2009
Format: Audio CD
IN HIS later years, despite ongoing creativity, Thomas Wilson's music slid marginally out of fashion. Eight years on from his death, how refreshing it is to revisit this assortment of chamber music, performed with all the affection and admiration necessary to rekindle the soul at the heart of its inspiration. The most telling factor in all these performances - from premiere recordings of the 1960s' Piano Trio and the String Quartet No 3 of 1958 - is the warmth of their interpretations. The Edinburgh Quartet plays a central role in these particular works, highlighting - along with pianist Simon Smith - the thrusting transparency of the Piano Trio and the structural solidity of the Quartet. There are climactic moments in the latter where the tension doesn't quite hold firm, but rarely does that kill an otherwise taut performance. Overall, the inclusion of such relative delicacies as Cancion and the Three Pieces for guitar - portrayed with flirtatious intuition by guitarist Allan Neave - give emotional balance to the selection. Smith offers a powerful coupling of the pungent 1959 (revised 1964) Piano Sonata with the more elusive 1983 Incunabula, a poignant example of Wilson's later, more reflective style. Maybe the message is that the time is now right to investigate further revival performances and recordings of one of Scotland's most influential 20th-century composers.
Ths Scotsman 1st June 2009
Ths Scotsman 1st June 2009