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