Online concert – Daniel Rowland, Maja Bogdanović, English Symphony Orchestra / Kenneth Woods: Sawyers: Concerti

Philip Sawyers (above)
Double Concerto for Violin and Cello (2020)
Viola Concerto (2020)

Daniel Rowland (violin, viola), Maja Bogdanović (cello), English Symphony Orchestra / Kenneth Woods

Filmed at the Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, Thursday 3 March 2022. Producer Phil Rowlands / Videographer Tim Burton

by Richard Whitehouse. Photo of Daniel Rowland and Maja Bogdanović (c) Stefan Bremer

Since returning to composition with a vengeance almost two decades ago, Philip Sawyers has created a varied output dominated by six symphonies along with five concertos that between them confirm the professionalism of his writing and a sensitivity to the instrument(s) at hand. Two of them were written, one after the other, in 2020 and received their public premieres at Hereford and Great Malvern in March last year.

Daniel Rowland (violin), Maja Bogdanović (cello)

Before that, they were recorded at one of the English Symphony Orchestra’s Wyastone sessions and it is these accounts which feature here. The live performances were covered when part of their respective concerts (see the reviews of the Double Concerto and Viola Concerto respectively), hence it only needs to be added that the studio recordings more than compensate for any lack of spontaneity with what they gain in subtlety of characterization.

The conviction of these readings should only be abetted when they are commercially issued on 6th March, as part of the ESO’s latest Sawyers release which also features his Octet for ensemble and Remembrance for strings (its public premiere to be given by the Leamington Chamber Orchestra at Holy Trinity Church, Leamington Spa on Sunday March 26th). Good news, moreover, that his oratorio Mayflower on the Sea of Time, whose premiere at the 2020 Three Choirs Festival fell victim to the pandemic, is to receive its first hearing later this year.

This concert can be accessed free until 28 February 2023 at the English Symphony Orchestra website, but remains available through ESO Digital by way of a subscription. Meanwhile click on the names for more on the English Symphony Orchestra and Kenneth Woods, or on composer Philip Sawyers. Meanwhile the new recording release mentioned above can be viewed and purchased in advance here

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