Rory Macdonald & RSNO - Thomas Wilson: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 - All Music
Thomas Wilson was perhaps Scotland's best-known composer until James MacMillan's more accessible music came along, and he has occasionally been championed by contemporary musicians, including conductor Rory Macdonald and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, heard here. Wilson has stated that there is a Scottish dimension to his music, but that it is neither obvious nor ethnic. It resides, perhaps, in a certain gloomy quality. With very extended tonality, Wilson's music is not exactly an easy listen, but it yields its secrets and structures to concentration and repeated hearings. Its most attractive feature is that it combines rigorous structures, based on small motives, with an evocative cinematic quality. The single-movement Symphony No. 5, the last work Wilson completed, is especially episodic, with varied orchestration; listeners may prefer either that or the denser Symphony No. 2, but most or all will find a modern Scots composer worth a revival. Macdonald and the RSNO approach the music with confidence and vigor, and Linn's sound from the RSNO Symphony Centre in Glasgow is ideal.