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The Guitar Concerto was composed specially for Craig Ogden, the brilliant guitarist whose recordings for Virgin/EMI, Chandos, Nimbus, Hyperion, Sony and Classic FM have received wide acclaim, and whose albums “The Guitarist” and “Summertime” shot to the top of the classical charts in 2010 and 2011. Subtitled “Requerdos do Mallorca,” the piece is predominantly sunny in character, with an evocative and graceful first movement, a haunting slow movement, and a mostly up-tempo last movement. The subtitle relates to a particularly happy time the composer spent in Mallorca some years ago.
Michael Whight, the principal clarinettist in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, is the soloist in the Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra. This work, composed in 2006, has a lively first movement, a rather dark middle movement, and an energetic and slightly jazzy finale. Overall, it is rather more “urban” in feeling than the other two concertos, and the composer thinks of it as a “London” piece, the capital city being his home town.
The Concertino for Flute and Small Orchestra was composed for Catherine Handley in 2011 as a result of trips to the Welsh mountains, valleys and villages, where Catherine lives. The outer movements are mostly light and airy, while the central movement is especially quiet and lyrical, a reminder that it is still possible to experience welcome feelings of timelessness among the inspiring Welsh scenery.
Christopher Gunning worked closely with all three soloists, whom he counts as friends. Throughout the CD, the soloists are complimented by superb playing by members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom the composer has worked frequently; his 3rd and 4th Symphonies are also recorded by the RPO for the Chandos label, coupled with his Concerto for Oboe and Strings, his daughter Verity Gunning playing the solo part. Watch out, also, for the large scale 5th Symphony, to be released by Discovery soon.
Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, Requerdos do Mallorca
- Moderately 10.03.
- Slowly, but with movement 6.35.
- Lively 9.57
Craig Ogden, solo guitar
Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra
- Moderately quick 7.48.
- Very slow 5.02.
- Animated 5.52
Michael Whight, solo clarinet
Concertino for Flute and Small Orchestra
- Bright but steady… Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted… 8.04
- Slow and thoughtful… And time stood still… 8.28.
- Lively… Time flies… 5.08
Catherine Handley, solo flute
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Christopher Gunning
Sample Music Clips
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