CDE84534 Tom Ingoldsby: Chamber Works

Tom Ingoldsby: Chamber Works

Tom Ingoldsby: Chamber Works

Product Description

CDE 84534
Tom Ingoldsby

Dialogues - Piano Sonata - Trio - After the Eulogy

Adam Summerhayes - Violin
Bridget Carey - Viola
Alan Brown - Piano
Catherine Summerhayes - Piano
Clive Williamson - Piano

Dialogues pour violon et piano was commissioned by - and dedicated to - the French-Canadian violinist Paule Barsalou (hence the French designation), and first performed by her and pianist Mark George at the Cleveland Institute of Music in March 1989. The Barsalou/Gee Duo then gave the Canadian premiere in Hamilton, Ontario during October 1992 - with the British premiere, by Ann Hooley and William Hancox, following in February 1993.

Like other of Ingoldsby's pieces, Dialogues is designed as a continuous span but one whose constituent sections generate a cumulative intensity through the direct and always audible evolution of salient motifs. Thus the opening section emerges gradually from the glissando-inflected violin line and gentle piano chords - leading, via a sudden crescendo, to a menacing 'molto marcato' outburst and an increasingly confrontational interplay of ideas between the two instruments. A brusque cadenza-like passage for piano restores the initial calm - though the manner is now less objective, as the opening music is musingly, even poignantly transformed. Hints at the more demonstrative material lead, at length, to a brief but intense coda which propels the work to its explosive conclusion.

Commissioned by Clive Williamson (with assistance from the Britten-Pears Foundation) and premiered by him in Manchester on 13 February 2003, the Piano Sonata No. 1 is the first in what the composer intends to become a trilogy of such pieces such as will be playable either separately or as a sequence of interdependent one-movement sonatas.

Although relatively short in terms of its overall length, the sonata suggests something altogether more expansive as it grows gradually and cumulatively from its opening motif - a pianistic gesture that is at once indelible, and suffused with harmonic and rhythmic possibilities. Initially, this leads to a purposeful episode, followed by a more melodic variant of the main motif. The initial tempo now returns for a rhapsodic central section - leading, via the melodic variant, to music of increasingly elaborate textures and forceful expression. The main motif then appears to end the work with ringing restatements that are left to resound into silence.

Written for Ann Hooley, Bridget Carey and Dominic Saunders, and premièred by them at St Giles Cripplegate, London in February 1996, the Sonata for Violin, Viola and Piano was awarded the 1994 Clements Memorial Prize for Chamber Composition. One of Ingoldsby's most substantial pieces to date, this is very much a interplay between equal but individual voices: one reason why the composer prefers not to designate it a 'trio' as such.

Once again, the work traverses a number of continuous sections in a cumulative design of considerable expressive breadth and sustained intensity. It opens 'Tempo rubato' with a rapt violin line over held viola chords, the piano making discreet but pertinent interjections. At length, the violin becomes more impassioned - goading a similar response from the viola, before intensive string arpeggios lead to a sudden eruption of emotion. Over flowing piano figuration, an emotionally diverse episode utilizes all of the motifs heard thus far - climaxing in a tumultuous confrontation between all three instruments. This breaks off, via a heady ascent from the violin, to leave the piano with a musing and intricate soliloquy (laid out on four staves): a passage of intense calm ensues - out of which violin, then viola enter as if in passionate remembrance. The initial mood and material having been regained, the music rises to one further climax partially reprising the eruption heard earlier - before a coda brings the work gently and elegiacally full-circle.

Subtitled 'A Sonata for Violin and Piano', After the Eulogy was the winner of both the jury and critics' prizes at the 2002 UK/Eire Composition Competition; which event saw its first performance, by Adam Summerhayes and Alan Brown, at the Purcell Room, London on 27 November 2002. Ingoldsby has not made explicit the title's meaning, though its significance can be perhaps be inferred from the involving and sustained nature of the discourse - in which vestiges of a four-movement layout are subsumed into the broad cumulative flow.

A peremptory piano chord launches the initial section which, with its undulating, rather folk-inflected violin part, opens up an intensive rhythmic interplay between the two instruments. This 'scherzo' leads then seamlessly into a slow section where the violin's musing inwardness is complemented by the piano's emotionally more circumspect contribution. Suddenly, a lilting idea takes hold of both instruments (the eulogy itself?), and the music quickly grows more animated, even capricious in manner. The scherzo-music at length resumes - driving the work, via brief references to previously-heard material, to an energetic and expressively heightened apotheosis.

Although Tom Ingoldsby (born Toronto, Canada on 17th October 1957) has always been unequivocal in his need to compose as a means of self-expression, the path to being a composer was far from a direct one. A gifted lead guitarist who was galvanized into music-making, as were many of his North American contemporaries, by the 'Beatles invasion' of the mid-1960s, he found himself in his late teens on the brink of a record-label deal with rock band Vesper Muse - only to reject it when he realized just what the 'corporate spirit' of the music industry entailed. Not until his twenties did he focus on music as an academic discipline - studying at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario with Boyd McDonald and Mariano Etkin, and taking his BMus there in 1983. His MMus, with Morton Feldman at the State University of New York, Buffalo, followed two years later.

While he soon found he could not share Feldman's creative ethos, the latter's advice to compose without hiding behind technical and notational artifice has informed his thinking ever since - as has the teaching of Donald Erb, with whom Ingoldsby pursued further studies at the Cleveland Institute up until 1989, in the importance of locating musical complexity entirely at the level of expression, rather than setting up any number of conceptual smokescreens between composer, performer and listener.

Over 16 years, Ingoldsby has amassed a catalogue both varied and substantial - ranging from the major orchestral works (winners of composition prizes in Italy and Spain respectively) Lamentations and Celebrations (a 'concerto for orchestra' with virtuoso percussion writing), and Wave Etchings (in its scintillating interplay of soloist and orchestra, the finest piano concerto to have appeared in the UK for over a decade), to such closely-argued chamber works as the String Quartet, Clarinet Trio, as well as the works featured on the present disc.

© Richard Whitehouse, 2005Tom Ingoldsby: Chamber Works