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Concert review of Sonatina for Recorders and Piano in Norwich
Violin Concerto CD selected CD of the year by critic
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Concert in January 2003 at the Purcell Room, London
Alan Bush Chamber Music Volume 1 released
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Virtual Alan Bush exhibition goes live
News Archive

Concert review of Sonatina for Recorders and Piano in Norwich
Posted: 18 February 2003

On Sunday, 2 February 2003, Ross Winters (recorders) and Christopher Green-Armytage (piano) gave a delightful recital of works for recorders and piano at the King of Hearts Arts Centre, Norwich, which is housed in a beautifully restored, old building. The programme was devoted to British and German works for recorders and piano of the 20th century, and included compositions by Gordon Jacob, Edmund Rubbra, Antony Hopkins. Christopher Green- Armytage also contributed two delightful piano pieces by Chopin, Nocturne, Op. 62, No. 2 and Mazurka, Op. 17, No. 4, and John Ireland's Sonatina for piano solo, which was appropriate because John Ireland had taught Alan Bush composition for five years, 1922-1927, and remained a close friend of his former pupil until he died in 1962. The concert concluded with Alan Bush's Sonatina for descant, treble and tenor recorders and piano, Op. 82, which Ross Winters described as a most "substantial and important work", a fitting end to his programme.

Ross Winters

The Bush Sonatina has three movements; Introduction and Allegro, Andante quasi larghetto, and Vivo, which are written for treble, tenor and descant recorders. Beginning on the treble recorder, there is a short introduction, followed by a beautiful melodic passage in folk idiom. The second slow movement on the tenor recorder exploits the dark, rich, sonority of the instrument. The third movement opens with a vivacious horn-pipe melody on the descant recorder, followed by a more reflective passage on the treble recorder; this movement returns to the horn-pipe motif on the descant recorder and ends with a great flourish. The Sonatina was beautifully performed by Ross Winters and Christopher Green-Armytage.

Alan Bush composed his Sonatina in 1975 at the request of Ross Winters, who had completed his studies in Amsterdam in 1974 and was about to embark on his career as a recorder player. Ross Winters wrote to the composer, saying "it would be a great kindness if you would consider writing a piece for me". This Alan Bush gladly agreed to do the following year, and the work was dedicated to Ross Winters, whom Alan Bush described as "a phenomenal performer" on the instrument. The first performance was given by Ross Winters (recorders) and Alan Bush (piano) at the Wigmore Hall, London, 11 January 1976. Ross Winters has performed the work on numerous occasions since. The Sonatina was published by Nova Music, London in 1981.