Graham Whettam: Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano L30 Night Music L18 Sextet for Wind Quintet and Piano L18 Prelude, Scherzo and Elergy L9

By Matthew-Walker, Robert | Musical Opinion, July/August 2003 | Go to article overview

Graham Whettam: Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano L30 Night Music L18 Sextet for Wind Quintet and Piano L18 Prelude, Scherzo and Elergy L9


Matthew-Walker, Robert, Musical Opinion


GRAHAM WHETTAM: Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano L30. Night Music L18. Sextet for Wind Quintet and Piano L18. Prelude, Scherzo and Elergy L9.

Meriden Music of Gloucestershire has recently issued four now splendidly produced scores of music by Graham Whettam for his 75th birthday season - two chamber works and two compositions for solo piano. The larger chamber piece, a Sextet for piano and wind instruments, is a 2001 revision of a work originally dating from 1970 and written for the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Sextet, and subsequently taken up by other groups, who gave many performances of it on the Continent and in Britain. In three movements, and lasting just under half-an-hour, the Sextet is unusual in that the piano is silent throughout the second movement, a set of variations on a recitative. Another feature is that the work has, as we might expect from this composer, an underlying sense of drama in which the horn emerges as the protagonist of the entire ensemble. This is, therefore, a fascinating and somewhat challenging work, which, although technically demanding for the players, inhabits that strongly communicative world of Graham Whettam, which makes an immediate appeal to audiences.

The same comments apply to the more recent Piano Trio, premiered in February 2003 by the Israel Piano Trio in Gloucester. In three movements, as is the Sextet, the Trio also finely combines textural juxtaposition with the inner momentum of the work itself. …

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