Edward Gregson: Tributes (Clarinet/Piano)
Lasting some 16 minutes, there are five pieces in the set, each dedicated to a different composer and a different clarinettist (with whom Gregson had long musical associations). Each of the dedicatee composers wrote wonderfully for the Clarinet and, as a tribute to them, Gregson tried to invade, indeed imitate, their stylistic worlds in these pieces.
They are as follows:
- To Francis Poulenc (for Emma Johnson) - a rather dreamy toccata, lyrical in feel, but interrupted by typically quirky and disruptive rhythmic episodes.
- To Gerald Finzi (for John Bradbury) - slow and lyrical with long melodic arches.
- To Igor Stravinsky (for Linda Merrick) - asymmetric rhythms dominate, with wide leaps in the solo line and bitonal harmony on the Piano.
- To Olivier Messiaen (for Nicholas Cox) - based on the ravishing slow movement for Cello in his Quartet for the End of Time, a seamless melody is woven around ever-changing repeated chords on the Piano.
- To Béla Bartók (for Michael Collins) - the most virtuoso of the set; after a slow introduction, a swirling folk-like dance unfolds, mirroring Bartok's penchant for simple modal shapes and ostinati rhythms.