Notes and Editorial Reviews
This programme reveals Philip Sawyers as a composer at the height of his powers whose music ranges across a relatively wide spectrum of harmonic intensity, from the very direct and straightforward tonal language of the Fanfare to the twelve-tone pyrotechnics of the Third Symphony. However, regardless of whether we look to the modal harmonies of Songs of Loss and Regret or the multi-layered serial counterpoint of the finale of the Third Symphony, we still find a unifying sense of a strong and individual artistic personality. In his symphonic works, we hear an uncommonly accomplished resultion of some of the aesthetic tensions which have gripped so much music to grow out of the Central European tradition in the generations after Mahler and Schoenberg. Sawyers works with a spectrum of musical materials ranging from diatonic and modal material through to twelve-tone themes with a striking mixture of rigor and imaginative flexibility.