Sir Andrew Davis
Available languages: EnglishOne of the leading English conductors from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Andrew Davis has conducted symphonic and operatic repertory with equal distinction and received praise for his performances of the music of British composers, particularly the works of Vaughan Williams, Elgar, and especially Michael Tippett. Davis took to the keyboard early on, and his first serious studies came with his enrollment at the Royal College of Music in London, followed by further instruction at King's College, Cambridge, where he excelled in organ performance and scholarship. The young Davis was gradually drawn toward conducting, studying with Franco Ferrara at Rome's Academy of St. Cecilia. His first major position came in 1970, when he was appointed associate conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, a post he held for two years. Davis' ascent toward international recognition came quickly in the years that followed: he became the principal guest conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 1974, and the following year was appointed music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. During his 13-year tenure in Toronto, Davis led many successful tours abroad and made a series of celebrated recordings, including those of Handel's Messiah with soloists Florence Quivar, Kathleen Battle, and Samuel Ramey, and of Janácek's Taras Bulba and The Cunning Little Vixen Suite. When he left the TSO in 1988, it is generally agreed that he had noticeably improved the ensemble and greatly enhanced its international reputation. Davis did not sever ties with the TSO when he stepped down, since he became its conductor laureate -- a very active one -- and then served as the artistic advisor for the orchestra's 2002-2003 season. In 1988, Davis accepted the directorship of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the following year was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. With the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he led a number of successful tours abroad, including to Hong Kong (1990), the United States (1995), Austria (1997 Salzburg Festival), and three excursions to Japan (1990, 1993, 1997). Davis' recordings with the BBC Symphony Orchestra have included a variety of works from various periods, but among contemporary composers he has tended to favor the British, as attested by CD issues of compositions by Harrison Birtwistle (The Mask of Orpheus), David Sawer (Byrnan Wood), and others. In the 1990s, Davis also gave concerts and made recordings with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and several others. He also conducted operatic performances at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, and the Bavarian State Opera, where his rendition of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes was critically acclaimed. In 1999, he was knighted and the following year he departed his BBC Symphony Orchestra and Glyndebourne posts. He then accepted the appointment of music director and principal conductor of the Chicago Lyric Opera, succeeding Bruno Bartoletti. For the 2002-2003 season in Chicago, Davis chose to lead performances of Wagner's Die Walküre, Massenet's Thaïs (with Renée Fleming), and Verdi's La traviata. He continued to remain active as a guest conductor in the concert halls and on the operatic stages in his native England and throughout the world. In 2005, he was named music advisor to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 2007. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra hired him as chief conductor in 2013, with a contract that was renewed through 2019. Davis' recordings included The Last Night of the Proms (2008), 100 Best Tenor Arias (2009), The Very Best of Thomas Hampson (2011), as well as a three-volume series of the orchestral works of Charles Ives. In 2016, Davis released his arrangement for large modern orchestra of Handel's Messiah on Chandos, and continued making recordings of Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Bliss, Finzi, and Holst for that label.
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 3 november 2017 | Chandos
Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Qobuzism - 5 étoiles de Classica
Aside from Elgar’s fascinating and obligatory Falstaff composed in 1913 (a Symphonic Study according to the partition, but in reality a symphonic poem in the grand tradition of Strauss— about whom Elgar probably thought when he wrote his masterpiece, and the rather present solo cello cannot help but remind us of Strauss’ Don Quixote, composed sixteen years earlier), the album distinguishes itself by a few melodies with orchestra from the same Elgar, a repertoire unfortunately too often neglected and yet of breathtaking beauty (we hear, in a pinch, the Sea Pictures performed from time to time, but that’s all folks). And when you know that it’s the now very famous baritone Roderick Williams on the mic, we can only applaud the initiative of Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic to feature these splendors once again. Elgar proves to us here that, far from just being a great master of large symphonic-vocal soundscapes in the form of oratorio (we obviously think about The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles and The Music Makers), he handles the miniature with genius. Roderick Williams, one of the most beautiful voices of today’s British scene, grasps these rarities with a joy that is as rare as these pieces. The album closes on a hilarious wink, the Smoking Cantata, a cantata with a ginormous orchestration but that lasts… only 49 seconds, and whose text is limited to: “Kindly, Kindly, kindly do not smoke in the hall or staircase”. It’s the best British humor! Qobuz technical commentary on sound qualityThe sound quality for this wonderful orchestration is refined; the level ratios are well-judged; and the distances between the consoles are just right, in this airy piece of mixing that renders the lines exceptionally clear. Clear and enveloping reverberation never hides the discourse: the result is a rare evenness between the different families within the orchestra. The tutti certainly aren’t lacking any liveliness, thanks to the remarkably assured dynamic, and when the percussion gets going we discover a beautifully-proportioned hall, which gives the sound room to develop without constraints. Without falling into the very (too?) popular trap of ultra-proximity, and because the acoustics allow it, Chandos has produced a mix which really respects the score, the performance, and the sound scene... what a relief! © SM/Qobuz
Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | Chandos
Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
Bliss composed The Enchantress in 1951, the year of his sixtieth birthday, for Kathleen Ferrier. The text is a free adaptation of the Second Idyll of Theocritus, made by Henry Reed, and well suited to Bliss’s love of classical Greek authors. Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, from 1955, was written for the CBSO, the first in a number of commissions from the John Feeney Trust. Inspired by John Blow’s Coronation Anthems, the work is a set of variations on a Sinfonia from that collection, each variation reflecting the text of a verse from Psalm XXIII. Described as a sacred cantata, Mary of Magdala was Bliss’s second Feeney Trust commission, composed during 1962 and 1963. For a libretto, Bliss turned to Christopher Hassall, his collaborator on three previous works, including The Beatitudes. Bliss conducted the premiere at the Three Choirs Festival in 1963, and wrote in his programme note: ‘One of the loveliest stories in the New Testament is that in the 20th chapter of St John’s Gospel, telling of how Mary Magdalene, lingering at the sepulchre, was the first to see the risen Christ. She, supposing him to be the gardener.’ The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus give of their best under their former chief conductor Sir Andrew Davis, and the contributions from the soloists, Dame Sarah Connolly and James Platt, are outstanding. © Chandos
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