ComposerChristopher Gunning
ArtistRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra/Verity Gunning
LabelChandos (CHAN10525)
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Picture of Christopher Gunning CD Symphonies 3 and 4. Oboe Concerto. Performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Verity Gunning. Conducted by Christopher Gunning. CHAN10525

Although Christopher Gunning is best known for his film and television work, for which he has won four BAFTA awards (for La Vie en rose, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Middlemarch, and Porterhouse Blue) and three Ivor Novello awards (for Rebecca, Under Suspicion, and Firelight) he has gradually been adding to a substantial is of concert works, to which he now devotes all of his time.

Christopher Gunning attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where his tutors included Brian Trowell, James Gibb, Edmund Rubbra and Richard Rodney Bennett. His compositions for the concert hall include nine symphonies and a number of concertos.

Here the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs the premiere recording of Symphonies No. 3 and No. 4, coupled with Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra. Symphony No. 3 was composed in the aftermath of a turbulent 2005. The work is an expression of this anxiety and the result is a chaotic, colourful musical landscape inspired by the Welsh countryside to which he escaped. While Symphony No. 3 is predominantly turbulent, Symphony No. 4 offers a different view of Gunning's world. Here the listener is treated to a sense of triumph over adversity, and herein the work is more direct and tonal. Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra was composed as a Christmas present for his daughter Verity, who here performs her Concerto. Middle Eastern influences are evident in the central movement for it was composed on the day which Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died and reflects Gunning's sense of sorrow for the region.

The works are conducted by the composer, and thus can be considered definitive performances.

"The piquant Concerto for oboe and strings, for me, takes the palm. 
Light on its feet, with some lovely moments for individual players in the
first movement, it acquires a more ruminative, melancholy feel in the
second where the soloist appears to be lost in her own thoughts.
The quasi moto perpetuo finale brings out the youthful and spirited
character of its dedicatee. This is a charming composition, winningly
played." Gramophone Magazine, July 2009 "This CD gives us his earnest Third Symphony, composed in the shadow
of a grave illness, and the more impulsive Fourth, written after he'd
made a full recovery. In between these comes his Oboe Concerto, which
is beautifully played by his daughter Verity."
Daily Telegraph, 1st June 2009

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