thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded
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Daniel JONES (1912-1993)
‘In Memoriam George Froom Tyler’ (1983) [18:44]
BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra/Bryden Thomson
rec. BBC Studio, 19 January 1990; 30 March 1990. ADD stereo.
Reviewed as lossless press preview.
We were already indebted to the enterprising Lyrita label for several
recordings of music by Daniel Jones:
Symphonies Nos. 1 and 10: SRCD.358: Recording of the Month –
review. Licensed, like the new release, from BBC broadcasts in 1990. John Quinn
thought this an ideal introduction to Jones’ music and Michael Cookson was
equally appreciative –
The new release very usefully fills some gaps with unique recordings of
both works. Better still, further releases – like these from BBC
recordings – are in preparation for later in the year and 2018: Symphonies
Nos. 3, 5 and 12 (BBC Welsh Orchestra/Bryden Thomson) and 13.
If you are not yet acquainted with Daniel Jones’ music and wish to try it
out, this and the other Lyrita recordings can be streamed, with booklet, by
subscribers to the very valuable Naxos Music Library – the current release
here. My own benchmark for twentieth-century music is well met by these and
Jones’ other symphonies: accessible works but without any suggestion of
sounding facile. Jones described the symphony as ‘a dramatic structure with
an emotive intention’. If I find more of the latter than the former here,
that's no bad thing on this occasion.
Otherwise the comments made by my colleagues about the
recordings of Nos. 1 and 10 largely apply to the new album. As with Nos. 1
and 10 the more diffuse style of the earlier work contrasts with the
more succinct later symphony.
Apart from walk-on parts on a handful of other recordings, only Lyrita have
paid attention to this eminently listenable composer. HMV, Pye and the BBC
have all taken him up at times and dropped him; fortunately, Lyrita have
snapped up some of those dropped balls for some of their earlier offerings.
The old BBC Welsh Orchestra – now the much refurbished BBC National
Orchestra of Wales – may not have been the top performers of their day but
they offer committed, convincing and very competent performances under a dedicated
By 1990 the BBC’s FM broadcasts were little inferior to commercial CDs –
DAB, especially on a day when even some of the meagre 192kbs allocated to
Radio 3 is syphoned off for other channels, is a different matter – and
though there’s a degree of opacity to the sound I didn’t find it at all
Paul Conway’s valuable programme notes – authoritative and informative –
complete a most recommendable release. Having listened as streamed from
Naxos Music Library or, in the case of SRCD.358, as downloads from
emusic.com to the earlier releases listed above, that recommendation
applies to Lyrita’s other Jones offerings.
Postscript I’m indebted to Rob Sykes for reminding me
that Chandos also took up the cause of Daniel Jones with a 2-CD set of his
string quartets, performed by the Delmé Quartet (CHAN9535). Sadly, that too
has gone the way of all flesh and I can’t locate it even to stream or
download: if Chandos have it in the latter format, their search engine
didn’t locate it by composer’s name or catalogue number and the Naxos Music
Library was no more forthcoming in both respects. Copies are on offer on
Amazon UK as I write for between £63.97 and £75.26.
I did miss a Llŷr
Williams recording of Jones’ bagatelles on the Tŷ Cerdd label (TCR010, with
music by Bartók, download only).
I didn’t mean to imply that the Pye and
BBC Artium labels had become defunct in order to spite lovers of Jones’
music and I thought I had made it clear that Lyrita had snapped up material
from some of those earlier releases to good effect.
Mr Sykes also mentions
earlier LP releases on the Argo label. Though I’m often guilty of diverting
down memory lane, I didn’t think it helpful to mention recordings no longer
available, though I share his hope that someone – maybe Lyrita – will
license and reissue them, perhaps with more broadcast material. Meanwhile
we can anticipate the forthcoming Lyrita issues.
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