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Hugh Wood

Publisher: Chester Music

Overture (2005)
Commissioned by Music in the Round for the Cropper/Welsh/Roscoe Trio, with funds from Arts Council England. First performance on 29th September 2005, at the Maidment Hall, Shrewsbury, as part of the Around the Country tour.
Chester Music Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
6 Minutes

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Programme Note
Hugh Wood Overture (2005)
Score sample:

  • Ensemble
    The London Archduke Trio
    Paul Silverthorne (viola), Roger Heaton (clarinet)
  • 14 AUG 2012
    Dartington Summer School
    Dartington Summer School, Dartington, UK
    Daniel Pioro (violin), Lowri Blake (cello) and William Howard (piano)
  • 29 SEP 2005
    Overture World Premiere
    Maidment Hall, Shrewsbury
    Peter Cropper (violin), Moray Welsh (cello), Martin Roscoe (piano)

    Other Dates:
    9 October - Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
    12 October - Crucible Studio, Sheffield
    17 October - Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere
    18 October - The Sage Gateshead
    23 October - The Old Market, Hove
    18 February 2006 - The Great Hall, Dartington
    19 February 2006 - Bridge House Theatre, Warwick

As its no-nonsense title suggests, Wood’s response to the commission was to provide a straightforward concert opener: its cheerful verve reminiscent of Classical overtures. It opens with a series of fanfare-like gestures in the strings, punctuated by sonorous chords and driving semiquaver figuration from the piano. This swiftly gives way to a lyrical duet between violin and cello, the piano now supplying the accompaniment. An extended middle section begins with just violin and cello, and ends with piano alone. The fanfares return twice more, at first spectrally, to announce the start of an altered recapitulation, and then again at the outset of a vigorous coda. The juxtaposition of fanfares and lyricism forms a characteristic means of generating contrast in Wood’s music, and is handled in the overture with typical regard for dramatic pacing. Familiar, too, is the use of three tetrachords that, in various combinations, permutations and vertical arrangements, underpin much of the musical development. To of these tetrachords are formed from segments of the whole-tone scales starting respectively on G and B flat; the third is their complement. The emphasis on whole tones colours the harmonic and melodic content of the overture, even in the more overtly chromatic passages. This in turn contributes to the general atmosphere of the work, which must count amongst Wood’s most light-hearted pieces. Both Peter Cropper and Moray Welsh are experience interpreters of Wood’s music: the Lindsay Quartet premiered Wood’s Third and Fifth quartets, and Welsh’s wonderful 1978 recording of Wood’s Cello Concerto has been re-issued recently by NMC. The resulting familiarity with Wood’s style undoubtedly informed the excellent performance of the overture, which began with a riskily fast but exhilarating tempo, and rarely let up after that.
Edward Venn, Tempo,01/01/2006
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