Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950)
Sinfonietta (1944) [23:16]
Symphony in G minor* (1937) [44:24] Overture for a Masque (1944) [10:36]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult*
rec. 1968, 1970, 1975. ADD LYRITA SRCD.247 [78:55]
Boult was a great champion of Moeran, a worthy
successor to Leslie Heward, and one whose adaptability and
malleability accommodated such divergent approaches to the
Violin Concerto as those by Sammons and Campoli. He was also
a champion of the Symphony and other orchestral music and
this Lyrita catches him at his studio peak.
The conducting is
passionately idiomatic and Boult understands perhaps more
than anyone since Heward how the music should ebb and flow,
how the tensile Sibelian drama unfolds with implacable force
and weight. In the Sinfonietta the LPO is on supercharged
form for its conductor, the trumpets in especially tenacious
and animated form, with string phraseology that follows with
incision and flexibility.
for a Masque was a 1944 Walter Legge commission and
its breezy confidence is infectious. Itís a fanfare overture
with a contrastive warm central panel.
of the Symphony is the most recommendable available given
the sonic limitations of the 78s set by Heward, though as
ever I would be intrigued to hear the Royal Philharmonic
Society premiere performance given by Heward which has apparently
been preserved. Boultís conducting is masterly. As early
as 2:34 in the first movement the string tune unfolds with
magnificent eloquence and we know we are in safe hands. The
New Philharmonia winds are characterful and assertive. The
transient beauty of the soaring melody at around 5:00 in
the slow movement is testament to Boultís understanding of
the linear curve of Moeranís writing Ė not for nothing was
Boult so good and so underestimated and underused a Sibelian
tone poet. Throughout this movement Boult urges playing of
rapt dignity of expression. Come the Scherzo and things fizz
urgently and the March rhythms of the finale are projected
with energy and determination. In this context the lyric
romance at 6:15 emerges with almost overwhelming beauty.
This is in every way a memorable recording and its restoration
here is thoroughly accomplished.
As with all the
Lyrita reissues that Iíve seen the original notes are reprinted
and in this case three writers do the honours Ė Michael Williamson,
Geoffrey Crankshaw and Frank Howes. If I donít always mention
remastering matters in my Lyrita reviews itís because the
original recordings were so good that one tends to take Simon
Gibsonís work for granted - and one shouldnít. An indispensable
disc for Moeran adherents.
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