RAWSTHORNE: Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra. Concerto No. 2 for
Piano and Orchestra. Improvisations on a theme by Constant Lambert.
Alan Rawsthorne (1905-71) was one among numerous British composers,
contemporaries of William Walton and Benjamin Britten, who fleshed out
the ranks without
quite the creative individuality to challenge their stellar compatriots.
Michael Tippett was Odd-Man-In because of his genius for self-promotion—a
kind of Brit Roy Harris with staying power. That said, both of Rawsthorne’s
piano concerti display abundant compositional craft and a range of well-bred,
well- schooled emotion from sadness to wit with tongue-in-cheek. Neither,
however, sticks in the memory even after three attentive playings, apart
from their structural coherence. His vocabulary was sauced (rather than
spiced) with dissonances but for the most part tonally diatonic at heart.
the music of a gentleman, ideally served I daresay by Peter Donohoe, accompanied
hand-in-glove by Takao Yuasa and the Ulster Orchestra of Belfast (of which
he has been principal guest conductor).