Melodist CDs presents composer and pianist Philip Gates, oboist Andrew Knights and the Carducci Quartet in recordings of Gates' A Garland for Gatsby, Piano Quintet and The Lake Isle.
A Garland for Gatsby is a piano cycle evoking characters and incidents from F.Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, while The Lake Isle is a rhapsody for oboe and piano inspired by W.B.Yeats' poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree. The Piano Quintet is an intense three movement work with a more personal programme.
Extracts from reviews of A Garland for Gatsby:
'Very much enjoyed this piece; it’s tonal, lyrical, employs the 20s idioms without either obvious pastiche or embarrassment. Excellent tunes too.......This is a most engaging disc.'
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb-International, Nov 2008
'It unfolds and holds together with nonchalant vividness, charting a range of shifting moods that’s both subtle and effective. So is Gates’ own deftly accomplished piano playing mirroring the wry economy of the music itself.'
Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine,Jan.2009
'Dance music and the jazz of the 1920s inform almost all of (A Garland for Gatsby’s) 18 movements, which are all expertly crafted and ultimately delightful. The piano is well recorded, and Gates plays his own music with great affection as well as a real feel for the music of the period..... (The Lake Isle) is a simply lovely piece.'
Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine,Mar/April 2009
'If you’re a fan of talented young chamber musicians interpreting the works of gifted living composers, this disc comes highly recommended. (A Garland for Gatsby) is an exceedingly thoughtful exploration of both modern and traditional jazz styles, from swing to stride, all expertly executed.'
Greg Cahil, All Things Strings
The oboist Andrew Knights was born in India and brought up in Sri Lanka and Hong Kong. After studying oboe, cello and conducting at the Royal College of Music in London, he won a scholarship from the French Government to study with Pierre Pierlot in Paris.
A meeting with Hansjorg Schellenberger, principal oboist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, led to his being invited to apply for the Herbert von Karajan Akademie. He won a scholarship from the Karajan Foundation, spent two years in Berlin, and was frequently invited to play with the famous orchestra under von Karajan at home and abroad.
After winning prizes in Britain and Prague, Andrew was appointed principal oboist with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1983. In 1991 he joined the Bournemouth Sinfonietta with whom he appeared as concerto soloist on over a hundred occasions throughout the southwest of England.
Prize-winners in no less than 6 international chamber music competitions, the Carducci Quartet has established itself as one of Europe's top young string quartets. These awards include 1st place at the 2004 Kumbo International Chamber Music Competition in Finland and special prizes in the Bordeaux and London International String Quartet Competitions.
Their critically acclaimed Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall debuts for the Park Lane Group, and all performances in the ‘Second Glance’ Festival in London, quickly established them as exponents of contemporary music.
Tours abroad have taken the quartet to France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Scotland, Hungary and Japan.
Born in London, Philip Gates was a music scholar at Millfield whence he gained an Open Exhibition to read music at The Queen's College, Oxford. During his time there he studied privately with Phyllis Sellick.
He has since pursued a career as a freelance musician, teaching, conducting, giving piano recitals and composing. He puts great importance on the tonal and melodic aspects of music, drawing inspiration from many different genres from folk music to jazz. His works include Danzas del Sud -a flute sonata written for Christopher Hyde-Smith and Jane Dodd - a clarinet sonata and several other works for solo instruments and piano. Crossing Jordan, a spiritual for brass band, was described by David Fanshawe after its first performance in 2002 as ‘original, immediately evocative and immensely effective in its scoring’.
Several of his pieces have been commercially recorded, the String Quartet in A minor by the Eberle Quartet in 1998 for the Naim Audio label and in the following year a selection of music for wind instruments and piano released by Shellwood Productions.