Veale knows how to write a melody and to present it cogently. The music of the three movement String Quartet is passionate. It is vibrantly played by a closely recorded quartet. There’s no trace of dissonance in this music. The style is springy, tuneful and, hunted. At times it suggests early Rawsthorne especially in the finale but other voices include 1940s Malcolm Arnold, William Walton and Constant Lambert; there’s a potently jazzy sway in the finale. The Impromptu for solo recorder is a capricious and sometimes piercing little soliloquy. The Triptych is in a single track running close to six minutes. The music encompasses varied moods and much of the invention is both fresh and strikingly original.
Crawford was born in Edinburgh and became a pupil of Hans Gál. His music, while not tough is more welcoming of Bartókian dissonance. Crawford’s Elegiac Quintet is hauntingly and melancholic and in the Elegy redolent of Bernard Herrmann. This eldritch dream-mood carries over into the compact Three Two-Part Inventions . The Clarinet Quintet is a fantastically imaginative piece and is surely one of Crawford’s masterpieces. It is wistful, tense and reflective in the yielding macabre manner of Bartók and Warlock.
The notes are an example to those contemplating similar projects.
This is a generously timed disc and the enterprise of the artists, Métier, the RVW Trust and the host of other subscribers is to be valued. I rather hope that we will next have discs of the orchestral music of Robert Crawford and of John Veale. The former’s Lunula sounds very promising and BBC broadcasts some six years ago by David Porcelijn of Veale’s Panorama , Metropolis and two of the three symphonies suggest that this is a project CPO should be embracing.