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Frederic LAMOND (1868-1948)
Symphony in A major Op. 3 (1889)
Ouvertüre Aus Dem Schottischen Hochlande Op. 4 (1890?)
Sword Dance from Eine Liebe im Hochlande (1890s?)
Eugen d'ALBERT (1864-1932)
Overture to Esther Op. 8
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Recorded 4-5 September 2003, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
HYPERION CDA67387 [59.51]


This aptly compiled disc brings together two Scottish-born pianists who made their careers in Germany. Both were Glaswegians and DíAlbert the older by four years and the more famous, rising to the position of Joachimís successor as the director of the Musik Hochschule in Berlin. Though díAlbert never stopped his concert tours Ė dying during one, in fact, in 1932 - composition was a constant of his musical life whereas Lamond never promoted his few compositions. Unlike many of his pianistic-titan contemporaries he was never a morceaux composer either Ė that would not have appealed overmuch to the Liszt student and acknowledged Beethovenian.

DíAlbertís Overture to Esther is a rare example of his orchestral music. Though he wrote a Symphony and two Piano Concertos it was as an operatic composer that he achieved the greatest renown. The Overture is a particularly good example of a late-Romantic work shot through with vestiges of Mendelssohnian influence. There are some fine orchestral solos, for cor anglais and good horn harmonies, all richly orchestrated, and some of the brass writing is reminiscent of Beethovenís in his overtures. Itís a crisp, confident, unaffected work and enjoyable.

Lamond bears the lionís share of the disc though. His Symphony in A major was his Op.3, begun when he was in his early twenties and published in 1893 in Frankfurt. It bears all the marks of his Brahmsian inheritance and of a thorough grounding in composition. He spins a delightfully extended waltz section in the first of the four movements, with warm strings and a burnished melody line; he can judge pacing, too, whipping up the tempo at the movementís conclusion. Thereís a bustly, forthright Scherzo and a rather beautiful slow movement with a Ländler feel to it which Lamond allows to be cross-hit by some doleful orchestral intimations only to reprise the Ländler at the close, touched with the briefest of hymnal Amens. The finale is pretty much School of Brahms but well crafted.

His next opus numbered work was the Ouvertüre Aus Dem Schottischen Hochlande, a perky but broadly drawn and mountainously expansive little pictorial piece. Itís full of space and Lisztian drama Ė muted brass calls across the valleys and the odd saturnine moment imbibed from his teacher in Weimar as well as moments clearly admiringly absorbed from Smetana. The Sword Dance is a fun piece with plenty of drones and reels, colour and Scottishry - it would make for a knees-up concert closer.

The hard-working Brabbins and the BBC Scottish prove fine tour guides to this little-known repertoire. Hyperionís recorded sound is top notch, the notes are excellent and the disc explores an intriguing corner of the repertoire with refreshing results.

Jonathan Woolf


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