Musical Opinion

Marcus Blunt (b. 1947) is one of those genuine British composers whose music has been unfairly overlooked for too long by those who are paid to know better, and this remarkably successful disc presents four of his works in performances notable for their complete commitment to a musical language that does not invariably go out of its way to seek a wide audience.

Blunt’s music is – on the strength of this varied collection – wide-ranging in its emotional address: from the deeply serious and strongly impacted Piano Concerto (magnificently performed by Murray McLachlan and the Manchester Camerata) to the whimsical, divertimento-like, Bassoon Concertino (with its wonderfully apt ending!). The four-movement Second Symphony (scored for Haydn-Mozart orchestra, and lasting around 17 minutes) is a naturally compact statement, but is genuinely symphonic across its entire compositional spectrum. The Symphony is outstandingly well conducted by Stephen Threlfall and is given a compelling performance by this fine orchestra, especially in the remarkably felt slow movement and in the challenging coda of the finale. Aspects of Saturn explores string textures in naturally musical fashion, and the entire production is strongly recommended. The recordings are, moreover, very well recorded and finely balanced.
(awarded five stars)

—Robert Matthew-Walker