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They’re real gems


BBC Radio 3 Record Review, Andrew McGregor

“One of the highlights for me is the clarinet concerto by Ruth Gipps, written for her fiancé, clarinettist Robert Baker. When she wrote it in 1940 they were students at the Royal College of Music and she had just become a pupil of Ralph Vaughan Williams. The slow movement is a touching representation of her relationship with Robert. It begins with her instrument, the oboe, before it’s joined by the solo clarinet … the piece has been hibernating until it was reawakened by clarinettist Robert Plane for this recording with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins  When she wrote it in 1940, Gipps was a young woman struggling to be heard in a male commented world. Scottish composer Ian Hamilton’s Clarinet Concerto was a major work from 1950, and in his case, the orchestral parts were mislaid after just a handful of performances. Vaughan William’s contemporary Richard Walthew’s 1902 concerto was unorchestrated when he died … they’re all played with a sense of conviction that they’re real gems.”


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