Colin Currie / John Wilson / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Vol. 1: Marimba Concerto; Symphony No. 3; Celebration; Summer Music; Sinfonietta

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AllMusic Review by

British, and later American, composer Richard Rodney Bennett was nothing if not eclectic. The music on this release comes from the 1980s, when he had shifted toward tonality from the hardcore modernism he practiced earlier, but it remains diverse in inspiration. This is the first in a series of albums devoted to Bennett's orchestral music, and the programming does well to embrace the diversity. Perhaps the top attraction here is the Concerto for marimba and chamber orchestra of 1988, which refers obliquely to Bennett's parallel career as a jazz pianist, although it is not really a jazz work. The opening Celebration evokes William Walton, and the Summer Music of 1982 (a flute-and-piano work arranged by the composer) is pure neo-Romantic melody. The Symphony No. 3 offers organically developing melodicism, perhaps in a Scandinavian vein, and the final Sinfonietta is something else again: a four-movement symphony telescoped into nine minutes. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under John Wilson deliver the requisite clean string sound and sensitively grasp the qualities of each work. The time is right for a survey of Bennett's work, and this is the way to go about it.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:36
Concerto for Marimba and Chamber Orchestra
2 09:47
3 06:42
Symphony No. 3 for Orchestra
4 07:32
5 05:16
6 08:44
Summer Music for Flute and Piano
7 03:16
8 03:36
9 03:29
10 09:17
blue highlight denotes track pick