The music of the English composer Ruth Gipps (1921-1999) is undergoing a resurgence, a sign of an overdue interest in female composers. A protégée of Ralph Vaughan Williams, she was admired as a student but struggled to have her work accepted in broader musical circles. Also a pianist, oboist and conductor, she founded the Chanticleer Orchestra to perform works by neglected contemporary composers. Recent recordings of two of her five symphonies and her G minor Piano Concerto have introduced her music to a new audience.


These examples of Gipps’s chamber works all involve the clarinet. (Her husband Robert Baker was a clarinettist.) The Rhapsody, Quintet, and award-winning 1956 Clarinet Sonata display a taut, no-nonsense approach to form, modal harmonies showing a clear Vaughan Williams influence, smart counterpoint, and attractive, pastoral melodic invention. Two short pieces, The Kelpie of Corrievreckan , and Prelude for Bass Clarinet, complete the program.

The music tends to bubble along without much dynamic contrast, although in the Rhapsody a fugal passage stands out, launched by the cello....