Horovitz Four Concertos

A composer can pay the price for easy-going music but this is delightful

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Joseph Horovitz

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Epoch

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 75

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: CDLX7188

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Fiona Cross, Clarinet
Joseph Horovitz, Conductor
Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Concerto for Violin & String Orchestra Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Andrew Haveron, Violin
Joseph Horovitz, Conductor
Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Concerto for Euphonium and Brass Band Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Joseph Horovitz, Conductor
Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Steven Mead, Euphonium
Jazz Concerto for Piano, String and Percussion Joseph Horovitz, Composer
David Owen Norris, Piano
Joseph Horovitz, Composer
Joseph Horovitz, Conductor
Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Joseph Horovitz has been a significant presence on the British musical scene for more than half a century. If he has never really achieved the recognition this CD suggests he deserves, it’s doubtless the price to pay for composing music that remains utterly unpretentious – using 20th-century harmonies but without ever seeking striking modernity or great profundity.

Instead all four concertos here, with jazz elements intermingled with classical, are immediately appealing, while containing sufficient substance to offer continuing interest on subsequent hearings. The Clarinet Concerto (1956) impresses for its appealingly reflective slow movement and bubbly finale. The Euphonium Concerto (1972) – perhaps the most overtly popular of the four – has diverting melodies and a finale that’s especial fun, offering exceptionally rewarding material for the soloist. The Violin Concerto (1950) was influenced by Horovitz’s studies with Nadia Boulanger and is perhaps the most searching of the four, while still offering endearingly jazz-tinted rhythms.

Above all, I love the Jazz Piano Concerto (1966). Composed originally for harpsichord and for George Malcolm, it strikingly combines aspects of Malcolm’s two specialisations – Baroque and jazz. In the outer movements Baroque elements are strong; but the slow movement offers clear echoes of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Everything is played with enthusiasm and finesse – definitely music to cheer a jaded palate – and is excellently recorded. It’s a successor to a 1999 Horovitz collection with the same orchestra (ASV), and I urge readers to investigate both.

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