Anthony Gilbert (born 1934) - Nine or Ten Osannas, Op.10

Recorded live on 21st October 2011. Duration: 22 mins 10 secs

Nine or Ten Osannas, Op.10
by Anthony Gilbert

Osanna for M.
For the various summer mornings of 28th June
Osanna for the colours about some people
and for the 9 lost colour years
Osanna for B.
For the various summer mornings of 28th June
Osanna for C.
For the various summer mornings of 28th June
For a ghostless spring
For a still autumn
For one wild grey ghost
For the various summer mornings of 28th June
Osanna for S.

The seemingly casual title of this 1967 composition for five instruments - clarinet and horn, violin and cello, and piano - is strictly accurate: the musicians are required to play a selection of nine or ten pieces from the fourteen supplied by the score. Around a third of the work will therefore remain unheard at any performance; rather like the dark side of the moon, this music is known to be there (at least by people reading the programme note), hidden and out of reach. There is always more than we can experience.

Even so, there is plenty we can. Though Gilbert calls his pieces by the Biblical shout of praise, they are highly varied in instrumentation and tone, with loud ejaculations balanced by fragments that are atmospheric or mysterious, and bright bursts intercut with more developed movements. Each has a title, sometimes poetic: 'Osanna against the iceman' (one of the longest pieces, ending with the instruments winding down on repeating notes), 'Osanna for the colours about some people' (a short sequence of crescendo-decrescendo chords), 'For my three stars' (sudden contrasts, no piano), 'For a ghostless spring' (violin and piano together in loudening chords).

Of course, it is possible that none of these four will be included. The only ones that have to be played are three the composer designates just with an initial and asks to be placed first ('Osanna for M.', a clarinet solo with intermittent cello), centrally ('Osanna for C.', a little litany of duets, a trio and adamant tutti sections) and last ('Osanna for S.', another long and changeable movement, begun by the two strings). Also likely to be present is the very brief, vociferous - a real osanna - 'For the various summer mornings of 28th June', which may appear several times, like a refrain.

Paul Griffiths ©

Dov Goldberg Clarinet
Richard Casey Piano
Alan Tokeley Horn
Benedict Holland Violin
Jennifer Langridge Cello

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