Curtis Orchestral Works Vol 2
Born in West Cumbria in 1959, Matthew Curtis is a self-taught composer and orchestrator who has already carved a niche for himself in the world of light music. As Ivan March stated in his review of Volume 1 (3/03), Curtis’s music will appeal to anyone weaned on Coates, Binge or Farnon, though to my ears his generous melodic gifts lack the indelible profile of those figures. Indeed, listened to at a single sitting, the disc runs the risk of sounding a little ‘samey’, but dipped into there are undoubted pleasures to be had, not least the Romanza (1982) and 1985 orchestral rhapsody Autumn Song (early works, both, and already revealing a deft touch). The most extended offering, a three-movement Sinfonietta completed in 2001, pays homage to the miniature Elgar and Tchaikovsky in its opening Allegro scherzando. The work’s Adagio cantabile centrepiece (‘West of Dingle’) falls fetchingly on the ear, its Irish flavour also permeating the jig-like first subject of the (engagingly garrulous) finale.
Throughout, Gavin Sutherland secures sympathetic and dapper results from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, who have been accorded vivid, if slightly dry sound. Light-music fans needn’t hesitate.