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Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva', Overture: 'Helios', 2 songs, Paraphrase on 'Nearer my God to Thee'
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Douglas Bostock.

Following Bostock's highly successful first issue of the 2nd and 5th symphonies, we now have this new recording of the Third with an alternative version of the slow movement and a few interesting 'extras'.

My comparisons in the 'Espansiva' were Jensen's magnificent 1959 live recording and the classic 1947 Erik Tuxen reading, both with the DNRSO. And it is indeed felicitous to report that Bostock is admirably similar to both in his 'feel' for the symphonic line that is so essential to this work. The opening bars are beautifully judged, bombast is avoided whilst the music flows along quite nicely, as Robert Simpson would say, 'like a call from outer space'. Recently, I also acquired Simpson's indispensable 'Carl Nielsen, Symphonist' and was thus able to follow this new account from the author's brilliant analysis. The slow movement is wonderful in its alternative version but both Eva Hess-Thaysen and Jan Lund are exemplary in the normal version with suitably mystic voices. The Finale is another deeply difficult stumbling block to overcome but Bostock sails triumphantly through with flying colours.

The English conductor's 'Helios' is also a model of understatement, uncannily similar to Tuxen's classic 1952 account for Decca (now on Dutton) that remains my benchmark for this wonderful work. We also have some songs and an intriguing paraphrase on 'Nearer my God to Thee' to complete a volume that should continue to set a standard for modern Nielsen recordings. Now, I eagerly await recordings of the Fourth and Sixth that should definitely match the high standard achieved in this series. Notes by Knud Ketting and a vivid spontaneous recording set the seal on an outstanding issue.

Gerald Fenech



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