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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Chandos Records has released a new CD featuring premiere recordings of three pieces written for the concert hall by Christopher Gunning, best known of course for his film & TV scores. Here is what he has to say about the project:-

Chris Gunning's new CD
I would like to tell you about a new CD of my music which has just been released by Chandos.

For the past few years I’ve been spending more and more time composing concert pieces. It’s not a new thing for me – when I started out all those eons ago I imagined that I would write concert music primarily, but would support myself with film and TV scores and commercials, and as an arranger in the pop music industry. In other words, I preferred to work full time as a composer rather than become a teacher, which is how most concert composers support themselves. Life seldom turns out quite the way you plan it, and in my case my work in the media took over completely for about thirty years, and the symphonies and concertos took a back seat. I’m not complaining – I’ve loved pretty well every minute of it, and wouldn’t have been happy existing in an ivory tower without the stimulus of frequent recording sessions and working with people with many other talents. But approximately ten years ago I realised that I wouldn’t ever get my concert pieces done unless I devoted real time to them, and since then have composed four symphonies (with a fifth well on the way) as well as concertos for the piano, oboe and clarinet, and a number of other pieces.

A few months ago I met up with Ralph Couzens of Chandos, and as a result my third and fourth symphonies and my Oboe Concerto have become available. I recorded all the music with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Air Lyndhurst studios, with Chris Dibble engineering, and my daughter Verity performing the concerto, which I had composed as a Christmas present for her in 2004. You can imagine how wonderful it was to have her stand in front of the RPO and play like an angel! In fact everyone involved pulled out all the stops for us, and I am so pleased with the result.

I have always been concerned about the developing rift between contemporary “classical” music and a real audience of music lovers, and I don’t believe it is always the fault of audiences that they have found so much contemporary music baffling or worse. I sense that a lot more composers are consciously reaching out to audiences now, and I hope the music I write is not unappealing. The Third Symphony is definitely quite stressful in places, perhaps not surprisingly because in 2005, when I wrote it, there were some tumultuous events in my life. Happily, by 2007 things were looking up and consequently Symphony no 4 is more optimistic in tone – even triumphant! Meanwhile the Oboe Concerto is much lighter than the symphonies, particularly in the outer movements, and it is youthful and energetic and a bit quirky – a reflection of Verity’s personality.

Early in 2010 I will be recording another CD for Chandos, this time of my film and TV scores, with the BBC Philharmonic. If you would like any further information you can visit my website, and if you would like to splash out and buy the new CD here are links to a couple of websites:

With best wishes,


For information concerning the music of Christopher Gunning please visit:

There's really very little more I need say about the disc and concert music is of course not my forte. It's a failing of mine that I am unable to stay focused when listening to lengthy pieces of music, which is why I am a screen music follower and seldom listen to concert works. But, if you like good music in all its forms, this is undoubtedly worth checking out, and further demonstrates that, despite any snobbery that remains, a good composer is a good composer, in whatever field he chooses to write. Looking forward to the film & TV disc next year though.
To confirm, the catalogue number is CHAN 10525. The disc runs for 66:53 minutes and is accompanied by a 24-page booklet, featuring the composer's notes on the three pieces, plus there are profiles of both Christopher and Verity Gunning, as well as the Royal Philharmonic, presented in three languages, with stills from the sessions.


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