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Edgar BAINTON (1880-1956)
Three Pieces for Orchestra (I Elegy; II Intermezzo; III Humoresque) (1916-18, revised 1919-20) [10:30]
Pavane, Idyll and Bacchanal for String Orchestra, with Flute and Tambourine ad libitum (1924) [9:10]
The Golden River - Suite for Orchestra after Ruskin, Op. 16 (1908, revised 1912) [16:31]
(I. South West Wind Esquire; II. Little Gluck; III. The King of the Golden River; IV. The Golden River)
Concerto fantasia for Piano and Orchestra (1917-20) [31:54]
Margaret Fingerhut (piano)
Richard Davis (flute)
BBC Philharmonic/Paul Daniel
rec. Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 20-21 September 2007. DDD
premiere recordings
CHANDOS CHAN10460 [68:35]
Experience Classicsonline

Chandos has done well by Bainton. There are already two discs including a splendidly life-enhancing recording of the Second Symphony (CHAN9757). The visionary-rhetorical Third Symphony has been recorded by Dutton and the Genesis movement from the First Symphony is on ClassicO.
Here we start with two three movement orchestral suites. The Three Pieces reshuffle some music Bainton wrote during his internment at Ruhleben camp: 1914-1918. The end result is three movements of Arden-like pastoral pleasantry. This is the lighter Bainton but not as light as say Coates. This is music both gently magical and bluffly celebratory - a touch of Korngold in the last piece. The Pavane is Tchaikovskian and balletic yet with a touch of Binge about it. The Idyll is rather Debussian - the faun here being a flaneur rather than a voluptuary. The Bacchanal has the bluff exterior of a Holst suite - Brook Green or St Paul's or indeed of RVW's Concerto Grosso.
The earliest item here is the four movement suite from The Golden River. This is redolent of Massenet's suites and Tchaikovsky's minor tone poems such as Hamlet or The Tempest with a whiff of Elgar's cigar smoke in the Little Gluck movement. A chattering Mendelssohnian King of the Golden River movement flitters and flashes along at speed. A real weight of utterance can however be felt in the lush sway and summery heaviness of The Golden River movement which rises to an almost Baxian climactic at 4:51.
The Concerto-Fantasia - a work of staggering originality in comparison to the other pieces here was begun in Ruhleben camp in 1917 and finished in 1920. It is in four movements and an epilogue. The long first movement is almost half the length of the whole work. It begins with the piano solo in wreathes of smiling cadenza-like flurries of crystalline notes. The redolences are of Bax's contemporaneous and statuesquely static Symphonic Variations and the similarly coeval Scott First Concerto. It also recalls Dukas's sense of fantasy and Scriabin's Piano Concerto yet has plenty of movement including an impudently Elgarian rhythmic grit which carries over into the Scherzo. The finale reminded me a little of John Ireland but with more emotional muscle and virility.
Paul Daniel, Margaret Fingerhut, the BBC Phil and Chandos have literally done the honours here and these four premiere recordings inestimably enhance the Bainton catalogue. The notes are by Michael Jones (who has written an article on Bainton for Musicweb) whose personally costly dedication to the Bainton cause has been as richly rewarded as are the fortunes of the listener who encounters this fascinating music brought back to us from the groves of oblivion.
Rob Barnett
Other reviews of Bainton's works on MusicWeb International
String Quartet: Dutton CDLX7163  
Epithalamium: Chandos CHAN10019
Symphony 2: Chandos CHAN9757
Viola sonata: British Music Society BMCCD415R
Genesis: Classico CLASSCD404
Symphony 3: Dutton CDLX7185


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