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Jones: Symphonies Nos. 12 & 13 (Live)

The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales

Classique - Released November 5, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
A fine example of Jones at his most succinct and incisive, the Twelfth Symphony (1985) was commissioned by the Civil and Public Services Association as a farewell gift to their retiring General Secretary, Ken Thomas. The Twelfth Symphony was first performed by the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra and conductor Erich Bergel at a gala concert at St. David's Hall, Cardiff on 26 September 1985. The score bears a superscription consisting of a brief quotation from Pushkin, which reads "Yet one last tale, And my chronicle is ended". Daniel Jones's Symphony in memory of John Fussell (Symphony No. 13) (1992) was first performed by the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra and conductor Richard Hickox at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea on 17 October 1992 at that year's Swansea Festival. The work is a personal tribute to a friend of the composer, who was Swansea's Director of Music and City Organist from 1970 until 1990, the year of his death. The cantata Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life (1987) was written in memory of John Aeron-Thomas, whose widow Margaret commissioned the work. A devout Christian, John Aeron-Thomas had been a founder-member of the Swansea Festival, who commissioned Jones's First Symphony. among other works. The text is taken from poetry by George Herbert (1593-1633), which details his sacred journey. © Lyrita
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Holbrooke: Late Piano Music

Simon Callaghan

Classique - Released October 1, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
The music on this album dates from the composer’s later years, and are largely based on themes from his earlier successes. The inspiration for Holbrooke’s music was almost always literary; hence, the large number of symphonic poems and pieces with literary titles or subtitles in his work list. Almost all the 8 Nocturnes, Op. 121 employ material from some of Holbrooke’s most successful and popular earlier works. The music critic Ernest Newman, in an often quoted appreciation of the composer written in 1902, wrote that “…Holbrooke can do quite easily and unconsciously what [Richard] Strauss has only done half a dozen times in his career – he can write a big, heartfelt melody that searches us to the very bone…”, and these Nocturnes display Josef’s gift for lyricism. The two Fantasie-Sonatas, Op. 124 and Op. 128 respectively, are important and substantial works from Holbrooke’s later years. The first is closely based on the opening movement of the Dramatic Choral Symphony "Homage to E.A. Poe", Op. 48 (1902-1907), but skilfully adapted for pianistic effectiveness. The second Fantasie-Sonata, "Destiny", does not recycle earlier material: it is an entirely original composition of two movements. Based on the slow movement of the fine Horn Trio, Op. 28 (1902), Cambrian Ballade No. 4, Op. 104 beginns in the lilting character of a berceuse. A more animated central section leads to an ardent reprise of the opening theme and a coda like a sudden shower of rain. It is tempting to think that in this composition the composer looked back wistfully to a period when his creative fires burned brightly and his talents were recognized by the musical world. © Lyrita
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Berkeley: The One Act Operas

Norman Lumsden

Opéra - Released October 1, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
Berkeley’s first opera, Nelson, was put on at Sadler’s Wells in 1954. The others were performed by the English Opera Group which had been founded by the young Benjamin Britten, Joan Cross, Eric Crozier and Peter Pears in 1946. In the same year as the Nelson premiere Berkeley’s first one-acter, A Dinner Engagement, featured at Aldeburgh. Aldeburgh was also the scene of Ruth in 1956 and Castaway in 1967. Each work inhabits its own world, and each finds Berkeley’s musical imagination delivering new sounds to match the drama. © Lyrita
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Holst: The Perfect Fool, Op. 39, H. 150

George Hagan

Opéra - Released September 3, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
The opera opens with a Wizard working his mystical ways and summoning the spirits of air, fire and water in the form of a brilliant ballet. His plan is to wed the Princess who is destined to select a husband that very day. An older Mother enters with a drowsy sleep-prone son in tow. The Mother is obsessed with a prophecy her son will woo and win the Princess. There is an elixir of course and once drained the man who does so will be loved by the Princess. The Wizard tries some of this on the Princess. The Mother has already switched it for pure water while administering the elixir to her yawning son. The Wizard flies into a fury promising to bring death and destruction on everyone. He departs. A troubadour and a wanderer have appeared and pay songful court to the Princess which she is having none of. When the Princess sees the Fool she falls in love with him and asks him to marry her. He answers with the word ‘No’ but the whole scenario leaves you wondering about their future. The Wizard returns with his horrors but after some stern and encouraging words from the Mother all the Wizard’s fell crew are burnt to a crisp. © Lyrita
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Berkeley: Nelson, Op. 41

Elizabeth Bainbridge

Opéra - Released June 4, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
This opera by Lennow Berkeley centers on the love affair of Horatio Nelson, and Emma, Lady Hamilton. Completed in 1951, it was first performed in full in 1954. The British Embassy in Naples is the scene of a birthday party for Nelson, arranged to celebrate his victory at the Nile. He appears with "the sadness of the world upon his lips" and while the other guests are dancing, Nelson, with Emma Hamilton, the Ambassador’s wife, beside him, hears a servant foretell his future unhappiness. This releases the passionate feelings of the couple for each other and the conflict in their lives. © Lyrita
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Simpson: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 (Live)

London Symphony Orchestra

Classique - Released April 2, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
Robert Simpson wrote his Fifth Symphony in 1972 in response to a commission by the London Symphony Orchestra. The first performance of the symphony took place on 3 May 1973 at the Royal Festival Hall, under the direction of Andrew Davis. Another London performance took place on 29 March 1984, again in the Royal Festival Hall, with the Philharmonia, the conductor again being Andrew Davis. In both cases audience and press reception was unanimously enthusiastic. Desmond Shawe-Taylor, in a review in The Sunday Times headed “Power of Robert Simpson”, detected “some shattering personal crisis” and observed that the 4th and 5th Symphonies “compel all but the most rigidly advanced of listeners to take a closer look at this remarkable composer”. He found the Fifth “bolder, tougher and more mysterious in substance”. Simpson’s Sixth Symphony, of 1977, was commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with funds provided by the Arts Council, who later sponsored the recording of the Sixth and Seventh, and also contributed to a number of later commissions. It received its premiere performance on 8 April 1980 at the Royal Festival Hall with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Groves. Edward Greenfield wrote in his Guardian review: “Happily Dr. Simpson’s metaphors are incidental to his genuinely musical imagination. So after the fragmentary germinal motives at the start, he turns very quickly to a bold tonal melody such as Nielsen might have written. One might even say that another of Dr. Simpson’s great influences is represented too; he has often acknowledged his debt to Beethoven and here he has in effect written a "Pastoral" Symphony for the 20th century, a view of nature observed not through the eye of the individual but through the microscope”. © Lyrita
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Jones: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5

The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales

Classique - Released March 5, 2021 | Lyrita

Booklet
The Third Symphony was written between March and May 1951 and played by the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra under the composer in a studio performance broadcast on 26 June 1952. It was first performed in public at the Cheltenham Festival on 9 July 1956 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Adrian Boult. In the same year, the third movement was used as an examination piece for conductors at the Royal National Eisteddfod. The Third Symphony is terse and closely argued. Reviewing the concert premiere at the 1956 Cheltenham Festival, the "New York Times" critic described it as ‘a work of stubborn force’. In his review of the same event, Kenneth Loveland hailed the score as ‘logically and boldly written’, observing that it conveyed ‘an idea of strength in composition, and an acute understanding of the capacity and projecting qualities of the individual instruments, and choirs of instruments’. By the time Jones turned to the medium again, his position as one of foremost symphonists of his generation was assured. Commissioned by the BBC, the Fifth Symphony was written between August and December 1958 at Jones’s home on the outskirts of Swansea high up on the Gower Peninsula in a room looking down on Oystermouth Castle and out over Swansea Bay. The work was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the composer at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 February 1959 and on 25 October 1962 the symphony was broadcast on the Radio Welsh Home Service by the BBC Welsh Orchestra conducted by the composer. © Lyrita
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The Voices of Our Ancestors (Live)

Elizabeth Van Os

Musique chorale (pour chœur) - Released August 7, 2020 | Lyrita

Booklet
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Alwyn: The Early String Quartets

Villiers Quartet

Musique de chambre - Released March 6, 2020 | Lyrita

Booklet
Composer William Alwyn is generally known for just three string quartets, numbered 1, 2, and 3, and much later than the youthful works on this album. The five pieces here -- there is a teenage set of Seven Irish Tunes for String Quartet as well as the four numbered works promised in the graphics -- are part of a group of 13 written between 1923 and 1931. Not all were student works, but they have that flavor: here, Alwyn tries out various structural and tonal ideas, although at this stage his later, highly individual flirtation with 12-tone music was not yet in evidence. The best, in the form of the String Quartet No. 7 in A major (1929), is offered first: this is a marvelously quiet, reflective work with a "Retrospective: Adagio e tranquillo" finale that sounds unlike any other music of the period. The Irish Tunes are certainly accomplished considering the age of their composer, and they are not Vaughan Williams knock-offs, but something more economical. Also intriguing is the String Quartet No. 9 in One Movement, embodying to a greater or lesser degree Romeo's "O here will I set up my everlasting rest" speech from Romeo and Juliet. The performances by the Villiers Quartet are ideally sensitive to the variety of styles Alwyn essayed here. This may be of most interest to fans of the interwar British scene and Alwyn, but it's listenable for anyone, especially the String Quartet No. 7. © TiVo
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Maw: Orchestral Works

BBC National Orchestra Of Wales

Classique - Released February 7, 2020 | Lyrita

Booklet
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Coke: Cello Sonatas

Raphael Wallfisch

Musique de chambre - Released January 3, 2020 | Lyrita

Booklet
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British Cello Works

Lionel Handy

Musique de chambre - Released November 1, 2019 | Lyrita

Booklet
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Bernard Rands: Orchestral Works

Jonathan Biss

Classique - Released May 3, 2019 | Lyrita

Booklet
British composer Bernard Rands taught at Harvard for many years and is better known in the U.S. than in Britain. He started with a musical language close to serialism but broadened it later in his career, a bit like Penderecki. The result in Rands' case fit the aims of U.S. orchestras well. He wrote tonally complex works that were nevertheless clear and easily graspable in their structure. The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of the composer's 80th birthday, is a good example. The original pianist, Jonathan Biss, reprises his role here and understands the work, which is intentionally not called a "Piano Concerto," as the composer wishes to express the balance between the piano and the orchestra. That's the main organizing principle: the balance grows more intricate over the course of the first movement but is not disrupted. The central movement is an especially effective nocturne (sample this), and the finale is an attractive virtuoso piece. The earlier Canti del Sole is a set of orchestral songs to poems about the sun; it's an earlier work, but clearly the product of the same composer. The most recent work is Music for Shoko: Aubade (2018), which is an arrangement of Rands' Concerto for English horn and orchestra of three years earlier. It adds up to work by a composer who is experiencing a remarkable run of late-life creativity, and one whom British audiences may well be delighted to rediscover. © TiVo
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Stanford: Mass via victrix, Op. 173

Kiandra Howarth

Musique chorale (pour chœur) - Released May 3, 2019 | Lyrita

Booklet
Charles Villiers Stanford had the misfortune to live until his music had fallen out of fashion. The Mass Via Victrix, Op. 173, a substantial 1919 work for four soloists, chorus, orchestra, and organ, apparently remained unperformed, except for the Gloria, even though it was published in 1920. The small cantata At the Abbey Gate, Op. 177, suffered the same fate. Perhaps audiences gravitated more toward composers who had actually fought in the war, but the elderly Stanford was in London when it was bombed, and he was forced to flee to Windsor. Whatever the case, the failure of the work must have been a bitter disappointment, for it shows evidence of heart and soul. As the title implies, the mass commemorates the war dead and gives thanks for Britain's victory. It combines a big public sort of conservative polyphony in the Gloria, with more passionate, inward material in the solos. Perhaps the mixture did not sit well with choir directors who examined the work. The Credo, however, is a major undiscovered masterwork (sample this, especially the Incarnatus). Stanford was embittered over his eclipse by Elgar, but the younger composer's influence found its way into this movement. The Sanctus, the mysterious, highly chromatic treatment of the Incarnatus, and the violent, leaping Crucifixus, have an immediacy that's very rare in mass settings of the 20th century. One hopes that choirs will incorporate this work into their repertories, although it needs powerful soloists; it receives them here in the quartet of Kiandra Howarth, Jess Dandy, Ruairi Bowen, and Gareth Brynmor John. The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales bring commitment to their work, as do Lyrita's engineers, who bring forth wonderful choral clarity from Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, Wales. Quite a surprise, and in parts very highly recommended. © TiVo
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Richardson: Piano Music

Martin Jones

Classique - Released April 5, 2019 | Lyrita

Booklet
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Discover the Piano Music of Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson

Classique - Released April 5, 2019 | Lyrita

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Arnold: Beckus the Dandipratt, Dances & Sinfonietta No. 1

London Symphony Orchestra

Classique - Released March 1, 2019 | Lyrita

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Sherwood & Parry: Music for 2 Pianos

Simon Callaghan

Classique - Released February 1, 2019 | Lyrita

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The Songs of Miriam Hyde

Charlotte de Rothschild

Classique - Released January 4, 2019 | Lyrita

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Arnold: Orchestral Works

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Classique - Released January 1, 1979 | Lyrita