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These three composers are better known by reputation than for their actual music, though only the Gordon Jacob is a premiere recording. Composed in 1927, this concerto – spiky and brilliant, with a barn-storming cadenza – may surprise accompanists familiar with his easy-going duos and other concertante music. Mark Bebbington and the closely miked Innovation Chamber Ensemble under young conductor Richard Jenkinson play it – and, in fact, the whole programme – for all it’s worth.

I reviewed Malcolm Williamson’s second concerto (composed in just eight days for student performers) in May/June 2014, played by Piers Lane as part of a release for Hyperion. Bebbington’s opening speed, impressive in itself, is a touch slower than Lane’s, and the finale’s manic left-hand passages include here a few mis-hits: part of the fun, surely.

Doreen Carwithen effectively stopped composing when she married fellow composer William Alwyn: a shame, on this evidence. Composed in 1946-1968, her concerto was soon broadcast, then performed at the 1952 Proms. The piano writing recalls Rachmaninov, the actual music more Finzi, Moeran and perhaps Alwyn himself. Mark Bebbington has already recorded her Sonatina, also for Somm: his performance shows total commitment, and the piece should be investigated – as should the other, shorter concertos here – by any soloist looking for appealing modern works.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica


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