Hodges / BBCSO / Volkov

Friday was a great day for British music, not so much on account of the swell of Parry et al billowing under Westminster Abbey's vaults, but because of the UK premiere later that day of James Clarke's marvellous piano concerto. Reflecting Clarke's second career as a painter, the concerto is labelled simply Untitled No 2 and, rather in the manner of an abstract painting, explores a limited number of harmonies and the relation between them. Despite this essentially static framework, the piece unfolds a beautifully balanced, dynamic structure.

More surprising is the work's resemblance to traditional concertos in the phases of dialogue between soloist and orchestra, and the contrasting periods of dense activity and moments of calm which bathe the audience like sunlight. Superbly coloured, this is a piece to hear again and again, and also a wonderful one to get lost in – though not for the soloist, Nicolas Hodges, who, as ever, was masterful in his elegant control of some very challenging material.

Read the full review here

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