Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




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

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


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

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

 

REVIEW



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
 

Buy through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Sound Samples and Downloads

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956)
Eclogue (1957) [10.01]*
Charles Hubert PARRY (1848-1918)
An English Suite (1921) [19.19]
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)
Sir Roger de Coverley (1922) [4.53]
An Irish melody (1908) [8.06]
There is a willow grows aslant a brook (1927) [9.37]
Rosemary (1906) [3.31]
Canzonetta (1926) [2.58]
Sally in our alley (1916) [3.42]
Cherry ripe (1916) [3.32]
Lament (1915) [4.52]
Martin Jones (piano)*
English String Orchestra/William Boughton
rec. Great Hall, Birmingham University, 6-7 June and 11 October 1992
NIMBUS NI 5366 [70.31]

Experience Classicsonline



 
The three composers represented on this compilation have little in common with each other apart from their nationality and the fact that they were largely neglected during the latter part of their lives and after their deaths. Of the three, Parry always kept a foothold on the repertory because of his choral music - although much of this substantial body of work remains unrecorded to this day - but the English Suite was a posthumous work edited after the composer’s death for performance by his pupil Emily Daymond and not performed until four years after his death, in a Prom outing after which it promptly sank without trace. Some of the ideas in the music date back to Parry’s heyday in 1894 but Daymond did her mentor no favours when she suggested that two of the seven movements of the suite could be omitted if the Suite was thought to be too long, and here the Caprice movement is indeed not given – as it was in Boult’s earlier 1971 recording for Lyrita. The work is hardly over-extended at under twenty minutes, and there would have been plenty of room for the additional movement. The later recordings in the catalogue, conducted by Richard Hickox and Adrian Leaper, also include the work complete and under the circumstances there seems little to recommend this cut version under Boughton unless the other works on the disc appeal.
 
Like Parry’s Suite, Finzi’s Eclogue was not published or performed until after the composer’s death, and the title was supplied by his editors. It was originally written in the 1920s as the slow movement of a piano concerto, but was revised some twenty years later to the form we now know. The first recording was made in 1977 under the indefatigable Vernon Handley and Peter Katin, but since then there have been a number of others. Martin Jones gives a very cool reading which emphasises the almost neo-classical style of the writing; one can imagine the work being played with more heated romantic fervour, but it nevertheless reveals all its crystalline beauty in this reading and the playing of the strings is beautifully refined. This is probably the best track on the disc; but the greater part of the collection really rests on the shoulders of Frank Bridge.
 
After his death, Bridge was even more neglected than Parry or Finzi; indeed, for many years he was only remembered for the fact that he had supplied the theme for Britten’s Variations, and there were more recordings of that piece in the catalogues than of any of Bridge’s own orchestral music. Britten himself recorded Sir Roger de Coverley with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1969 in the Snape Maltings, and the larger body of strings he employed made a more positive impression than Boughton manages here. It was not until Sir Charles Groves devoted a whole EMI LP to the orchestral music of Bridge in 1976 that the revival of the composer’s fortunes may be said to have been safely launched. Groves could sometimes be a rather stolid and sober conductor, but at his best he was capable of producing some superb performances – his recording of Delius’s Koanga remains unchallenged in the catalogue to this day, and his Bridge compilation was another of the highlights of his recorded repertoire. He included Cherry ripe and the Lament in his compilation, and two years later Boult gave us première recordings of Rosemary and Sally in our Alley; but this Nimbus disc was - so far as I can tell - the first to include recordings of the Canzonetta and the Irish melody. Indeed this remains the only available recording of the latter work in its orchestral form, since it was not even included in Hickox’s otherwise comprehensive survey of Bridge’s orchestral music for Chandos; the other recordings in the current catalogue are of the original string quartet version.
 
In terms of performances Boughton’s readings of Bridge are fine, but these are not by and large Bridge’s greatest works; indeed many of them are transcriptions for string orchestra of pieces that Bridge originally wrote for smaller forces, and many of them fall close to the category of ‘light music’ – if any music by Bridge could be so described. Boughton is just a little slower than his competitors Boult or Groves - to the advantage of the heartfelt Lament - but the differences in interpretation are minimal. The most substantial work here, There is a willow grows aslant a brook, is however something different again. This meditation on the death of Ophelia (in Hamlet) is one of Bridge’s most impassioned later works, and in terms of length and content it can hardly be categorised as a miniature. This is the only work on this disc which includes wind instruments, and it is also clearly the most ‘modern’ composition here; Boughton gives the music plenty of atmosphere. But there are many other recordings of this piece, and some of these - not least Hickox - give the music more substance.
 
The real attraction for Bridge completists - who will in any event presumably already possess all the Hickox recordings - is the orchestral version of the Irish Melody, which contains yet another arrangement of the (London)derry Air to set beside those of Grainger and Harty. It is quite a bit less conventional than the setting by Harty, but decidedly less so than some of the sometimes bizarrely chromatic versions in which Grainger indulged himself. Then again, this is not really a conventionally Irish tune; it fits no known Irish metre, and its history might lead to some suspicion as to whether it is really a traditional Irish melody at all. It was first published in 1855 (without words) and was supplied to George Petrie by Jane Ross who had arranged it herself for piano and merely stated that it was “very old”. However later researchers failed to uncover any trace of its origins, or any Gaelic words; the first poet to supply lyrics was Percival Graves for an 1882 setting by Stanford. Apparently Jane Ross, who was a conscientious collector of folk-songs, may have heard the song in Donegal - where her brother was a fisherman - rather than Derry itself. There remains a suspicion that she may actually have written the melody herself – perhaps more likely than an alternative explanation which attributes the tune to the fairies. Bridge’s arrangement is the central section of a piece that is quite substantial in length and depth; he adds a double-bass part to the original quartet version. One could imagine the work might be more effective with more players; the cellos at 1.32 and 2.16 sound rather thinner than ideal. For Bridge enthusiasts there is no competition to this recording, which is therefore valuable in its own right.
 
The recorded sound throughout is natural, and nicely resonant without being overblown.
 
Paul Corfield Godfrey
 
In terms of performances Boughton’s readings are fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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






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.