Magazine article Musical Opinion

United Music Publishers' Gala at St John's

Magazine article Musical Opinion

United Music Publishers' Gala at St John's

Article excerpt

Since their founding on I April 1932, United Music Publishers have produced a glittering array of music from 20th-Century masters and contemporary composers of both France and Britain. To celebrate their 70th Anniversary the company hit upon exposing their largesse with a Gala concert at St John's, Smith Square on 12 April, featuring some of the enduring compositions that UMP have published during this period. With so many works to delve into the concert became more of a showcase with short bursts of music giving a clear flavour of the UMP Catalogue. Messiaen, Canteloube, Ravel, Debussy, Poulenc and Tailleferre were countered by living composers Diana Burrell, Naji Hakim, Betsy Jolas, Michel Merlet, Stephen Montague and Roger Redgate.

Organist Naji Hakim opened the concert with a spirited performance on the Sainsbury Organ of Messiaen's Le Vent de l'Esprit from his Messe de la Pentecote, despite its character coming over rather dry in the acoustic. Canteloube's Bailero could have been a little more disciplined by the Vasari Singers, conducted by Jeremy Backhouse, though four of Poulenc's Huit Chansons were delightfully sung and characterised by the group.

Diana Burrell's Gold is scored for Piano, three Gongs and Brass. I found this an engaging work, finely paced and excellently executed by United Brass, a group formed especially for the occasion, accompanied by Philip Mead's understanding and thoughtful display on the Piano. Offstage Trumpets added more drama to the work holding my interest throughout. …

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