Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva', Overture: 'Helios', 2 songs, Paraphrase
on 'Nearer my God to
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.