Prima Facie

CDs with online ordering

Alan Rawsthorne: A Portrait (PFCD053) £12.50

Woodwind concertos and chamber works

"This is a lovely disc, with a fine selection of Rawsthorne's still neglected music in excellent performances. Anyone interested in mid-century English music will want the disc." Planet Hugill
"a fascinating and invaluable disc" Guy Rickards, Musical Opinion
"[An] amiable accomplished selection... Oboe astringency sorts well with Rawsthorne's expressive character" Paul Driver, The Sunday Times
"A fine introduction to Rawsthorne with some rarities for those who know his work already." Stephen Barber, Music Web International

Concerto for clarinet and string orchestra
Preludio: Moderato
Capriccio: Allegro molto
Aria: Adagio
Invention: Allegro giocoso (to bar 157)
Original ending (bars 158 - 161)
Revised ending (bars 158 - 168)

Quartet (No 1) for oboe and string trio (1935)

Studies on a Theme by Bach for string trio (1936)

Brother James's Air for cello and piano (1941)

Sonata for cello and piano (1948)
Adagio - Allegro appassionato
Adagio Allegro Molto

A Most Eloquent Music (1961)

Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra (1947)
Maestoso appassionato - Allegro
Allegretto con morbidezza

Linda Merrick
Manchester Sinfonia Conducted by Richard Howarth
Sylvia Harper
Jake Rea
David Aspin
Joseph Spooner
David Owen Norris
John Turner
Laura Robinson
Roger Child
Jill Crowther
The English Northern Philharmonia Conducted by Alan Cuckston

The recordings of three of the works on this disc, the 'Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello (No.1)', 'Studies on a Theme by Bach for string trio' and the 'Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra', were included on a CD released by ASC in 2002. This disc is no longer available, and as the Quartet and the Studies were the first and only available recordings, and there is presently only one other available recording of the Oboe Concerto, it was considered that a re-release would be welcome and worthwhile. The original coupling was with two of Rawsthorne’s choral works, but rather than repeat this it was decided to include new recordings of further chamber music and the 'Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra'. In the case of the Clarinet Concerto this provided an opportunity to include the première recording of the published, original ending, but with the medium of the CD it has also been possible to include the revised ending, so either version can be programmed and listened to. Though there are already recordings of the 'Sonata for Cello and Piano' available, it is such a fine and important work that a further interpretation is more than justified. The very attractive arrangement of 'Brother James’s Air', also for cello and piano, is a première recording. 'A Most Eloquent Music', from the incidental music Rawsthorne composed for the 1961 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet, has been included on a CD released by the RSC, but the recording is introduced into this programme also – it is, after all, the year in which the four- hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is being commemorated.

Alan Rawsthorne

Alan Rawsthorne
Alan Rawsthorne was born on 2nd May 1905 in Haslingden, Lancashire. He reached his early twenties before deciding to take up music as his chosen career, entering at that time The Royal Manchester College of Music. There he studied the piano, ‘cello and composition. On leaving college in 1930 he continued his studies abroad, notably with Egon Petri. From 1932-1934 he taught at Dartington Hall and was composer in residence for the School of Dance and Mime. He gained his first notable success at the London Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in 1936 with a performance of his Theme and Variations for Two Violins. A further success was registered at the Warsaw Festival of the same organization in 1939 with his Symphonic Studies, a first and highly accomplished orchestral score, which was to win an established place in the orchestral repertoire. Following the war, in which he served in the Army, he devoted himself to composition and between then and his death in 1971 was to produce a number of substantial works in most of the established forms. Among these he made important contributions to the chamber music and solo piano repertoire. There are three Symphonies which mark the progress of his musical language between the first of 1950 and the third written in 1964. His two Piano Concertos are among the most eminent works in this form written by English composers in the century. Two Violin Concertos and a ‘Cello Concerto are essays in the lyrical and dramatic potential of the form. His many film scores are marked by the same attention to detail and craftsmanship as is to be found elsewhere in his music. His own distinctive voice is to be found in the earliest of his published compositions. Characteristics of the man are to heard in the music, thoughtfulness, elegant, precise and clear in expression, erudition, a tendency to understatement and a mordant and sometimes melancholy wit.
(John M Belcher, from the sleeve notes of this disc)