Having made premiere recordings of exciting discoveries by Bax, Holbrooke and Robin Milford during his career, Robert Plane decided to turn his attention to lost concerto repertoire for his latest project. The resulting CD, ‘Reawakened’, brings back to life three exciting clarinet concertos that had fallen into neglect, in world-premiere recordings. It will be released by Champs Hill Records next month.
As Robert outlines:
“The neglect of the three concertos that are ‘reawakened’ on this disc can each be explained differently. Richard Walthew left his clarinet concerto in manuscript and un-orchestrated on his death, while the orchestral parts for Iain Hamilton’s concerto were mislaid after just a handful of performances. Ruth Gipps was a woman struggling simply to be heard in a male-dominated musical world.
Iain Hamilton’s monumental concerto, a gritty and imposing work of huge significance, won the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize in 1951. It has not, however, been performed for fifty years and had never been recorded. I was delighted to be able to put this right, working in Glasgow City Halls last summer with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Martyn Brabbins, both fine ambassadors for Hamilton’s music and the music of his native Scotland.
Richard Walthew’s Clarinet Concerto dates from fifty years earlier but feels from a totally different era. I was thrilled to have been introduced to this work by the composer’s grandson John Walthew, himself a clarinettist. Sadly the concerto was never orchestrated in the composer’s lifetime, a situation now resolved by the orchestrator Alfie Pugh that enables this classic Edwardian style work to finally be premiered.
The music of Ruth Gipps is becoming increasingly championed and appreciated. Her clarinet concerto, like the Hamilton, is an early work, composed for her clarinettist husband and displaying both the brooding melancholy and deft light touch that her later symphonies so wonderfully combined.
Completing the disc is an English classic in a new form. John Ireland’s Fantasy Sonata is his most recorded work but here a rich bed of strings replace the piano in Ireland-expert Graham Parlett’s stunning re-imagining.
I’m indebted to Champs Hill Records for their support as well as Creative Scotland, the RVW Trust, the John Ireland Trust, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the families of Ruth Gipps and Richard Walthew.”