The Strad issue
Adderbury Ensemble, John Turner (recorder) Linda Merrick (clarinet)
Veale, Crawford Chamber music from two lesser-known British composers
British-born composer John Veale (1922–2006) had an early career in film music, followed by studies with Roger Sessions and Roy Harris in the US. His style, however, remained in the Frank Bridge era, represented here by his delightful 1950 String Quartet, which is worthy of a place in the repertoire. The same likeable harmonic language continues into the Triptych, though I find the Impromptu of only passing interest.
Robert Crawford, born in Scotland three years after Veale, embraces a pleasing modern mix of tonality and atonality, and I much commend the two-movement Clarinet Quintet from 1992. Equally, he puts the recorder’s sound to good use in two other well-crafted scores.
The playing of John Turner and Linda Merrick is admirable, but the beautifully prepared performances from the Adderbury Ensemble are most impressive. With a suitably wide dynamic range, the group’s accounts of the Veale are suitably warm and light-textured, contrasting with the cool colours and cleanly defined interplay the musicians bring to the Crawford. Good sound quality.