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Written in 1930, this unusual piece by Cyril Bradley Rootham (CBR) is scored for viola, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and harp. The Septet was dedicated to patron of the arts Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge.
This recording is a real puzzle. It was recovered from a set of unattributed compact cassettes (marked only "Septet"), found among the archive left by CBR's son Jasper Rootham. We think it is probably from a studio recording made in Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1980s by an ensemble of players from the Northern Sinfonia. At that time Jasper Rootham had retired to Northumberland, was in close touch with the Northern Sinfonia (and Richard Hickox), and commissioned the recording of many CBR works.
The sheet music for Cyril Rootham's "Septet" is not yet in print. But we are indebted to Alistair Jones, whose informed editing of the full score and instrumental parts after much research and comparison of the various existing manuscripts is a great step forward. We intend to publish his scholarly edition of the Septet in due course as part of the CBR project.
This first typeset edition reconciles and corrects many mistakes in the earlier handwritten parts. Some of the blame must rest on the composer: perhaps in order to save space, CBR has placed oboe, clarinet and horn sharing two staves. This certainly caused problems to later copyists of both the score and the instrumental parts!
We are also very grateful to Jeremy Aknai for preparing the full score and parts for publication.