Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

 

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975)
A Colour Symphony (1921-22, rev. 1932) [31:48]
Violin Concerto (1953-55) [41:47]
Lydia Mordkovitch (violin)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox
rec. Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, 17-18 January 2006, DDD
CHANDOS CHAN10380 [73:35]
Experience Classicsonline

Bliss always said that his concertos were inspired by the personalities of soloists, whether it was Rostropovich (1927-2007) for the late and somewhat anaemic Cello Concerto or Solomon (1902-1988) for the leonine piano concerto. In this case it was Alfredo Campoli (1906-1991) for the Violin Concerto.
 
The Violin Concerto owes its existence to a BBC commission given to the recently appointed Master of the Queen's Music. He succeeded Bax who had died in October 1953. The premiere was given by the dedicatee, Campoli with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sargent in the RFH on 11 May 1955. Bliss conducted it the next evening for a radio broadcast. That same year in November Campoli and the LPO with Bliss conducting recorded it in mono for Decca. This was issued as Decca LXT 1566 and was later a staple of the Decca Eclipse label alongside the Bliss-conducted Colour Symphony. You can hear this on an all-Campoli disc with the 1949 Bliss Theme and Cadenza and a voluptuous but much cut-about Tchaikovsky concerto on Beulah 3PD10. On 16 April 1956 Bliss conducted the concerto with the USSR Symphony Orchestra in Moscow. Campoli was the soloist. The concerto has made little headway in the concert hall and that first Decca LP much reissued seems to gave stifled further recording projects despite the mono sound. In 1996 Carlton BBC Radio Classics brought out a stereo version in which Campoli is captured with Bliss conducting the BBCSO on 16 December 1968. That ADD version was rapidly deleted when the label collapsed and the concerto had to wait a further decade before this - only its third outing. I keep hoping that John Georgiadis's studio  broadcast with the BBCSO and Handley in the year of Bliss's death will be issued on CD but it seems increasingly unlikely now.
 
He worked on two other projects in parallel with the concerto. There was work on a special edition of The Beggar's Opera for a Herbert Wilcox film. The other was a Feeney Trust commission for the CBSO - the work that became the John Blow Meditations - which Hugo Rignold recorded so impressively and imaginatively in 1965 with the CBSO and which was released with the Music for Strings on Lyrita Recorded edition LP SRCS 33 (now reissued on SRCD254. The CBSO were to return the work in 1979 with Vernon Handley for EMI but the Rignold version does not suffer in comparison.
 
For those among us who are interested in the numbers, here are the timings for the Concerto:                   

 
I
II
III
Mordkovich
15:41
8:51
17:12
Campoli (Decca)   
14:21
6:41
16:13
Campoli (BBC)
15:11
7:09
15:36

Mordkovich dwells luxuriantly on the many beauties in this expansive score. She takes the longest at just over 41 minutes with Campoli 1 at just over 37 minutes and Campoli 2 at just short of 38 minutes. The mono analogue recording from 1955 presents Campoli right up close without being as suffocatingly gigantic as a typical RCA Heifetz concerto balance. It’s a pleasure at last to hear this work in its full glory.
 
Bliss dedicated A Colour Symphony to Adrian Boult yet it was the composer who conducted the premiere at the Three Choirs in 1922. As you can see from the following comparison with the recently reissued Groves recording on EMI, Hickox is a minute or so faster overall:

 
I
II
III
IV
Hickox (Chandos)
6:53
6:55
9:34
8:27
Groves (EMI) 
6:49
7:43
10:15
8:20

Hickox is accorded a typically fine and spanking new digital recording from Ralph Couzens but it's a close run thing with the clean golden age analogue recording for Groves and EMI. Overall the Chandos represents a fine listening experience and has many strengths. My allegiance though is in the last  and closest analysis to the Groves. Groves has both expansive gravity and rapturous energy coupled with a slightly better-honed rhythmic edge. Grand stuff though and this is a fine performance and a splendid recording of the Symphony by anyone's reckoning. It's also the only way of accessing a modern recording of the Violin Concerto in sound that can only be described as stunning.
 
Rob Barnett
 



 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.