Liverpool has for long years been a friend of British
music. Whether it was under Bantock, Groves or Handley the orchestra
and the Philharmonic Hall have, season after season, echoed to the transiently
unfashionable and overlooked - the neglected and the negligible. EMI
often travelled to Liverpool as one of the twin capitals of the North-West
during the 1960s and 1970s and this collection is part of the harvest
of those days.
Bridge owes his orchestral rebirth to this collection.
Even Britten who provided a home for Bridge revivals at Snape failed
to record anything so substantial. The original ASD LP served as a call
to arms soon answered by Pearl and Lyrita. The 1974 Proms echoed exultantly
to Groves performance of Enter Spring with the BBCSO - a performance
with much more corybantic abandon than this one! However the Rhapsody
is extremely well done here. This is perhaps Bridge's symphony in all
but name. It is as instinct with symphonic gravamen as Sibelius's Pohjola's
Daughter. Enter Spring remains one of the most startlingly
confident and exultant works of the 1920s and catches Bridge on the
cusp between his Summer lyricism and the dissonant adventures
of Oration and Phantasm. Glorious! By its side The
Sea - an extremely imaginative impressionistic work - sounds restrained.
Summer is a delight and stands in the same warm shadows and dazzling
June sunlight shared and shone by Butterworth's A Shropshire Lad.
Cherry Ripe is charming light music - and Bridge was good at
such things. A Lament (written for one of the child fatalities
caused by the sinking of the Lusitania in 1916) is touching.
Predictably good notes by Anthony Payne best known
now for his realisation of Elgar 3 but a fine composer and a staunch
friend to the music of Bridge and Bax.
A classic of the gramophone.