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Seen & Heard
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Wand of Youth Suite No. 1 [21:06] (Overture
[1:42]; Serenade [1:59]; Minuet [2:06]; Sun Dance [3:04];
Fairy Pipers [3:50]; Slumber Scene [4:27]; Fairies and Giants
Wand of Youth Suite No. 2 [18:06] (March
[4:58]; The Little Bells [2:45]; Moths and Butterflies
[1:59]; Fountain Dance [2:49]; The Tame Bear [2:46]; Wild
Nursery Suite [25:41] (Aubade [6:06]; The
Serious Doll [3:08]; Busy-ness [2:27]; The Sad Doll [1:49];
The Wagon (Passes) [1:45]; The Merry Doll [1:49; Dreaming
- Envoy (coda) [8:09])
Dream Children, Op. 43* [7:51] (Andante [3:30];
Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Norman Del Mar*
rec. Ulster Hall, 27 June 1982; Guildhall, Southampton, July
1976 (Dream Children)
CHANDOS CHAN10422X [73:17]
was drawn to the idea of the joy and innocence of childhood
all his life. As a teenager he wrote a play and some accompanying
music in which he portrayed an idealised world without adults
- or at least, without unreformed adults! Later he returned
to these sketches for the Wand of Youth suites, and
for music for another work about children and childhood – the
delightful and moving Starlight Express. We find the
same, and similar, material cropping up in both.
Chandos Classics disc is a re-release of a 1982 Bryden Thomson
recording of the Wand of Youth suites and Nursery
Suite. It ends, as a bonus, with Del Mar’s 1976 rendition
of Dream Children.
first Wand of Youth suite contains seven contrasting
movements, and the second suite, six movements, ranging in
mood from the tender and gentle (Serenade, Fairy
Pipers, Slumber Scene and Fountain Dance)
to the bold opening Overture, Fairies and Giants and
fast-flowing The Little Bells and Wild Bears.
The first suite was dedicated to the organist of Gloucester
Cathedral – Charles Lee Williams, and the second, which followed
swiftly on the heels of the first suite, to Elgar’s childhood
friend, Hubert Leicester.
these works are very delicately and sympathetically performed
- particularly the charming seventeen century pastiche Minuet
- they are a little on the slow side. Both Slumber Scene in
the first suite, and the March in the second suite are
a minute shorter than Vernon Handley’s 1989 EMI recording.
The Thomson versions come across as very lovingly played, but
also, by comparison, a little lacking in zest.
Suite was composed to celebrate the birth of the Duchess
of York’s two daughters – later to become Queen Elizabeth
II and Princess Margaret. Elgar again returned to earlier
sketches he had made and incorporated them into the composition.
This recording is once more slightly on the slow side, particularly
in comparison to Sir Charles Groves (again on EMI). It all
comes across as beautifully relaxed and tender, although
a little more spirit would not have gone amiss.
two short orchestral pieces Dream Children are a lovely
addition. They are again works suffused with nostalgia and
are here performed with wonderful poignancy and a lightness
works on this disc are perfectly well performed, and it makes
for a delightful compilation.
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