This is a superb retrospective of Antony Hopkins’ achievement as a composer but also recognises his talent as a poet. It is well-produced and allows the listener to approach a considerable variety of musical moods, styles and genres. There is a considerable stylistic gulf between the ‘Partita’ and the ‘Tango’. However, both works are suffused with technical skill and sustained interest. The same applies to virtually all the music on these CDs.
A few minor criticisms probably seems churlish. However, three things should be mentioned. Firstly, most of Hopkins’ pieces heard here date from the 1940s. There are a couple from the early fifties and one written in 1980. Unfortunately, I do not have access to a ‘works list’ so I do not know what other music has been written since 1953, however it would have given a wider perspective of Hopkins’ achievement if a broader range of works had been included.
Secondly, I wish the ‘programme notes’ had been a little bit more detailed. Most of these works would seem to be ‘premiere recordings’ so are not in the public domain. Little critical reception appears in the pages of The Musical Times , Tempo and other contemporary journals about the major works.
Lastly, I fear that the recorder features just a little bit too much in some of these pieces. Where the work was conceived for that instrument that is fine, however where it has been added or has been substituted for the original ‘flute’ it seems to be unnecessary.
The performance of all this music is excellent. I will single out the beautiful voice of Lesley-Jane Rogers and the inspired playing of Matthew Jones on the viola for special mention. However all the soloists impressed me. Finally, I have to pay tribute to John Turner. He conceived the project, organised it and plays on a number of tracks. All this reveals his unquenchable enthusiasm and massive musical ability. It is a major achievement.
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