Publisher: Novello & Co
Chamber Concerto No. 1 (1962)
commissioned by the University Court, Glasgow, under the terms of the McEwen bequest
Chester Music Ltd
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Chamber Concerto No 1 was written in the winter of 1961-62 and is scored for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola and cello. It is dedicated to Robin and Margaret Orr and was commissioned by the University of Glasgow under the terms of the bequest of Sir John McEwan (1868-1948, the composer of a great deal of chamber music, including seventeen string quartets), for the encouragement of Scottish chamber music. The first performance was given at a McEwan Memorial Concert in Glasgow on 26 April 1962 by members of the Scottish National Orchestra conducted by the composer.
Thea Musgrave has described her later chamber concertos, Nos 2 and 3 as 'exploring the dramatic ideas in instrumental music', and as being in 'cumulative' forms. No 1 is more ‘static’, and is shaped somewhat like a movement in a concerto grosso, its design supported by four ritornello-like tutti sections that are related in their chordal pattern, though they differ in dynamic shading. These are separated by three more contrapuntal episodes (the second of them in slow tempo) for various instrumental groups. The form can thus be described as A B A CA B A.