Travelling With Time (PFCD041) £12.50/£17.50
Compositions by Anthony Gilbert
(1) Ygg-drasill (2007) for voice and 9 instruments
(2-4) Papillon Postcards (2005): Gavarnie; Manto ringlet; Mountain small white
(5-6) En Bateau, d'après Watteau for soprano, recorder, oboe, violin and cello: La Musique; Antoine Watteau
(7) Piano Sonata 3
(8) Another Dream Carousel (2000) for string orchestra
(9) Rapprochement for cello and piano (2011)
(10) Quartet No. 3 - super Hoqueto 'David' (1987)
"A significant collection [...] of the quietly impressive and publicly unobtrusive art of Anthony Gilbert. [...] Performances throughout are excellent, and the varied recordings have been very well combined to produce an important tribute to an admirable British musician." Musical Opinion
"The stand-out for me is 'Another Dream Carousel', an evocation of Viennese life prior to the Nazis’ horrors - I admired the Northern Chamber Orchestra’s playing of this when it was new in 2000 and it’s good to have it on this disc." Robert Beale, Manchester Classical Music Blog (CDs of the Year: a personal seection)
"... a terrific recording from beginning to end" - Peter Byrom Smith, Sounds Magazine
'Travelling with Time' is a sequence of seven fairly recent compositions by Anthony Gilbert (1934-2023). They all parallel, in their different ways, conflicts and near-resolutions in European history from the Nordic invasions across to our recent waves of persecution and instability. Gilbert grew up in a family whose ancestors on both sides fled religious persecution, and lived in the late 1930s alongside a young Viennese refugee from Nazism, a truly disturbing experience. Then, having in his early twenties worked as a translator and interpreter for the international water-supply industry, he was brought face-to-face with the kind of often prejudice-driven tensions that can exist between nations, in whose best interest it would have been to work together. Consequently, even some of his early works from that time have in them an element of tension and near-resolution between related elements - a not-uncommon compositional procedure, after all!
The ordering of the seven compositions on this CD aims to show, figuratively rather than literally, how early historical patterns of conflict and near-resolution in an otherwise peaceful context are mirrored in our own time. Forces vary from solo piano to string orchestra, via music-school ensemble with voice and chamber groups likewise. Two sets of three pieces, 'triptychs' one might say, are separated by a substantial Sonata acting as 'time-transition'. This creates an overall triptych-like structure for the disc – a 'composition' in its own right, one might say – an approach encouraged, almost subconsciously, by reading in 2013 a book of new poems by Lancashire-born Australian poet Sarah Day, entitled 'Tempo', which in their way reflect on the way time-past and time-present will come together.
(1) Seo Jin Lee with the Purcell School Ensemble
(2-4) Ian Buckle piano
(5-6) Lesley-Jane Rogers soprano, John Turner recorder, Richard Simpson oboe, Richard Howarth violin, Jonathan Price cello
(7) Richard Casey piano
(8) Northern Chamber Orchestra directed by Nicholas Ward
(9) Simon Turner cello, Richard Casey piano
(10) The Bingham Quartet
Produced by Stephen Plews and Anthony Gilbert
ANTHONY GILBERT (1934-2023) was born in London in 1934. Initially working as clerk-translator and interpreter, he first studied piano at Trinity College of Music under Denis Holloway, then took up serious composition in his early twenties, studying first with Mátyás Seiber, then with Anthony Milner and Alexander Goehr at Morley College, London, and later with Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. He first attracted public attention in the 1960s with a series of brilliant virtuoso works for small ensembles, performed in the international festivals.
Throughout his professional life, Gilbert was closely involved in the promotion of performances of new music, with several long periods on the committees of the Society for the Promotion of New Music, the ICA Music Section, the British and Sydney Sections of the ISCM and the New Music Panel of North West Arts. He was Founder Member, Chairman and Artistic Director of New Music Forum, Manchester, and Founder and Artistic Director of AKANTHOS, the new music ensemble of the RNCM.