Curtis, M Orchestral Works, Vol 3
Ivan March and Andrew Achenbach reviewed two previous Campion CDs of music by Matthew Curtis (3/03; 5/05). That this third follows so closely is, we are told, because of the availability of performers willing to record his flute and clarinet concertos. Of the other music on the CD, the Five Dances for string orchestra were written specially for the recording.
Curtis was born in Cumbria in 1959, and the Gramophone summary of the first Campion CD rightly described him as a composer unafraid to write tunes. This is immediately apparent here in the frisky opening movement On the Move, as also in the beautifully lyrical Adagio cantabile of the Flute Concerto, the swinging opening waltz of the Five Dances, and the Allegro finale of the Clarinet Concerto. I can imagine that Flute Concerto movement especially gaining popularity separated from the remainder of the work. In its interplay between flute soloist and solo violin, it also demonstrates Curtis's particular skills as an orchestrator - remarkable for one apparently self-taught in that respect.
Apart from the final Partita, everything in the collection is scored for reduced orchestral forces, emphasising the overall impression of music that fits well into the tradition of Elgar's lighter works. Even if the music's ready accessibility means also that it perhaps leaves no deep lasting effect, the expertise and affection of Gavin Sutherland and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia ensure that the CD will not disappoint any who have enjoyed the first two Curtis volumes.