New Music

by Robin Hull


E J Moeran's 'Rhapsody in F sharp for Piano and Orchestra' offers a welcome alternative indeed to some of the older concertos which have been worn threadbare up and down the country. Here is a Rhapsody that really lives up to its title. Moeran is one of the few living composers who can handle this kind of pattern with true mastery. He writes succinctly and often brilliantly, giving due place to lyrical meditation, and achieves a feeling of spaciousness without the slightest deviation into relaxed or diffuse thought.

He scores for a fairly large orchestra, but these resources are used economically and leave him an ample reserve for movements of heightened power. Hs treatment of the keyboard, too, is both expert and closely sympathetic; to be sure, the music calls for first-rate playing, alike in matters of technique and interpretation, yet its demands on the player are wholly reasonable.

My own view is that Moeran finds himself thoroughly at home in a work conceived on this scale (the duration of the Rhapsody is 17 1/2 minutes). He has given us some glorious music of course, in the two concertos proper - for Violin and Cello respectively - but here the pattern seems even more to his liking. Moreover the Rhapsody is an ideal length for many programmes in which, frankly, the listener does not want a three movement concerto in addition to a big symphony. Whether anything will induce the builders of programmes to realise this fact, ad turn aside from the beaten track is a problem which seems to fall within the province of brain-specialists!

Penguin Music Magazine No. 1, 1946
" New Music" - Robin Hull

©2011 The Worldwide Moeran Database



Moeran is one of the few living composers who can handle this kind of pattern with true mastery...