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Robert Plane to record with BBC Scottish and Martyn Brabbins

In June of this year, Robert Plane will be recording a new disc with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Martyn Brabbins. The disc will include premiere recordings of clarinet concerti by three twentieth-century British composers, building on both Martyn’s and Rob’s continuing advocacy of British music.

Rob is excited about this upcoming project:

“Breathing new life into neglected British clarinet music has been a lifelong passion of mine. My next recording project, in June 2019 for Champs Hill Records, brings back to life three exciting clarinet concertos than have fallen into neglect in world-premiere recordings.”

Twentieth-century Scottish composer Iain Hamilton began his working life as an engineer, before winning a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music when he was 25. He wrote his clarinet concerto (op. 7) while still in his twenties, and this will be the first item on the disc.

“Iain Hamilton’s monumental concerto, a gritty and imposing work of huge significance, won the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize in 1951. It has not been performed for fifty years and has never been recorded. I’m delighted to be recording it in Glasgow City Halls with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Martyn Brabbins, both fine ambassadors for Hamilton’s music and the music of his native Scotland.”

Hamilton’s concerto will be followed by that of Richard Walthew, who studied under Hubert Parry in the 1890s.

“Richard Walthew’s Clarinet Concerto dates from fifty years earlier but feels from a totally different era. I was delighted 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.”

Ruth Gipps entered the Royal College of Music when she was just 16, studying composition with Gordon Jacob and then Ralph Vaughan Williams. Having moved on to Durham University, she completed her clarinet concerto (op. 9) while still in her teens.

“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.”

These three concerti form the main body of the CD, which will be rounded off by John Ireland’s only extant work for solo clarinet:

“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.”

The recording sessions will take place on the 9th, 11th, 12th and 13th of June, for later release on the Champs Hill label. Rob is indebted to Champs Hill Records for their support as well as Creative Scotland, the John Ireland Trust, the RVW Trust, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the families of Ruth Gipps and Richard Walthew.

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