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CD Review

Alexander Goehr

Early Works

  • Little Symphony, Op. 15
  • String Quartet #2, Op. 23
  • Piano Trio, Op. 20
Orion Trio
Allegri Quartet
London Symphony Orchestra/Norman del Mar
Lyrita SRCD264 71m DDD
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Born in Berlin in 1932, Alexander Goehr came to England a year later and ever since his student days at the Royal Manchester College of Music, he has always considered himself as an integral part of the English musical establishment. Together with Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies and John Ogdon, he was responsible for the setting up of the new Manchester Music Group, and today he is one of the most esteemed composers of his generation.

All three pieces recorded on this disc date from the 1960's when Goehr was developing his technique and extending his emotional spectrum. Although regarded as early works, all three are strikingly mature and characteristic of the composer's later style. As their forms suggest; a symphony, a string quartet and a piano trio are connected with traditional classical forms, although the composer's leanings towards experimentation and atonality are very much in evidence.

This is music that is rich in invention and sound in structure and Goehr's predilection for the variation form features in all 3. Although these works were recorded in 1965 and 1973, sound quality remains commendable and surprisingly clean. This is a fitting tribute to one of today's master musicians.

Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech