Gilbert’s ‘Monsoon Toccata’ on Janet Owen Thomas CD

Anthony Gilbert’s ‘Monsoon Toccata’ for solo piano, written in memory of his former pupil Janet Owen Thomas, has been released on CD alongside Owen Thomas’ own works.  The CD, entitled ‘A Shooting Star’, has been recorded by Prima Facie (ASC Records) in celebration of Owen Thomas’ life.  Richard Casey, who gave the premiere of  ‘Monsoon Toccata’ in Belfast, in 2014, is the pianist ; the other artists on the disc are Simon Passmore, Jane Ford, The Goldberg Ensemble and The Bingham Quartet. 

‘Monsoon Toccata’ is based on Northern Indian Raga, with ‘quasi-improvisatory toccata-like textures acting as decoration to a slow-moving, widely spaced modal top line’ and reflects on the ‘whirling wind and torrential rain of the seasonal monsoon’, and also on a minor earthquake, during a trip to Delhi in 1988. Owen Thomas, who was also taught by UYMP composer Robert Saxton, spent a year at the University of York studying for a degree in Music Technology before undertaking advanced composition studies with Anthony Gilbert at the RNCM.  Her organ work ‘Rosaces’ was premiered at the 1991 Proms and also features on the CD.  Owen Thomas  lived and worked in York, as a composer, teacher, organist, writer and jazz pianist.  PFCD063 may be purchased from Prima Facie Records or from Amazon.  

(28 Feb 2018)

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