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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 2003 | Chandos

Distinctions Gramophone Award - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Poems - Released January 1, 2000 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 10 de Classica-Répertoire - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released August 1, 1986 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 1988 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
Like many composers of his generation, Ernest John Moeran was an avid collector of folk songs, and he often incorporated them into his large orchestral works. Because these melodies evoked landscapes for his musical imagination and gave his work an Anglo-Irish identification, Moeran is often classified as a regional composer. Yet such a narrow categorization may interfere with a fair appreciation of Moeran's music, which is actually quite sophisticated and not restricted to parochial scene painting. By turns energetic, melancholy, and whimsical, the Symphony in G minor certainly reflects Moeran's interest in East Anglian and Irish songs. But its formal strengths and serious purpose raise it above the merely picturesque, and make it comparable to the symphonies of Vaughan Williams and Sibelius. The Overture for a Masque is a pleasant diversion, and probably owes much of its flashy appeal to the influence of William Walton. The Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra bears slight hints of Irish folk music, but the flavor of the piece is cosmopolitan and the vigorous piano part reflects the popular concerto styles of the 1940s. Vernon Handley and the Ulster Orchestra, with pianist Margaret Fingerhut performing in the Rhapsody, turn in handsome readings, though these recordings from 1987-1988 are a little deficient in color and depth. © TiVo
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Symphonic Poems - Released March 1, 2006 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 1, 2007 | Chandos

Granville Bantock (1868-1946) was never one for doing things on a small scale, and his complete setting of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyám attests to the scope of his vision. The oratorio, which lasts over three hours and requires a huge orchestra and chorus, is unlikely to find a place on many concert programs, but a recording offers the listener the ideal opportunity to savor it in manageable chunks. It's a very attractive piece that suffered from the bad timing of its premiere, which was very close to that of The Kingdom by the much more famous Edward Elgar. Bantock's style is similar to Elgar's, and any Elgar fan should find much here to appreciate. His music reflects the sound of late nineteenth century Germans, particularly Brahms, but there is a Wagnerian influence as well. Debussy's aesthetic is also in evidence in the harmonic movement of the more "exotic" sections, and there are moments of languid lushness that are similar to the soundworld of Gurrelieder, whose premiere it predates. While Bantock didn't have a particularly original vision, his canny combination of a variety of influences, his skillful orchestration and vocal and choral writing, and the epic sweep of his lyricism make Omar Khayyám a very appealing piece. It doesn't have enough variety to fully sustain interest for three hours, but taken in smaller doses, it has much to commend it. It receives a stellar performance by the BBC Symphony and Chorus, led by Vernon Handley, who lovingly shapes the colorful score. Mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers, tenor Toby Spence, and Roderick Williams sing with warmth, robust tone, and passionate intensity. The sound of Chandos' SACD is full, clean, and spacious. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 16, 1997 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 21, 2011 | Parlophone UK

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Keyboard Concertos - Released September 1, 2003 | Chandos

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Classical - Released August 1, 2004 | Chandos

For those of you who love the music of E.J. Moeran, who love his bucolic harmonies and his rustic rhythms and his pastoral and passionate melodies, this is the disc for you. Although Moeran's lone symphony has been relatively well represented in recordings, his other orchestral works have been less often issued. This 1988 disc by Vernon Handley and the Ulster Orchestra brings together five of the less often issued Moeran works for orchestra: the two Rhapsodies, the Serenade in G, the symphonic impression In the Mountain Country, and the Nocturne for baritone, chorus and orchestra. Although they lack the breadth of his Symphony in G minor, Moeran's Rhapsodies are more immediately attractive in their rhythmic energy and their resplendent colors. What the Serenade lacks in symphonic power it more than makes up for with its intimate lyricism and what In the Mountain Country lacks in structural cogency it more than makes up for with its evocative expressivity. But the real find on this disc is Moeran's Nocturne: a deeply nostalgic and deeply affecting Tombeau pour Delius filled with all the sensual sentimentally of the syphilitic master. Handley stirs a course between sensitivity and sappiness and the Ulster Orchestra plays with rough enthusiasm. Chandos' early digital sound seems warmer in this reissue. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 1, 2004 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released September 1, 1999 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released August 1, 1991 | Chandos

Even for those listeners who love the English composers of the first half of the twentieth century, Adrian Bliss is a bit recherché. More modernist and more cosmopolitan than even William Walton, Bliss was nevertheless a lesser composer than Walton. Although no one doubted his technique, no one was quite sure about his sincerity. The modernist irony of so much of Bliss' music lessens the emotional effectiveness of his symphonic rhetoric. Even at his grandest and most public in A Colour Symphony, he is curiously unconvincing. This 1987 recording of A Colour Symphony along with The Enchantress and the Cello Concerto by Vernon Handley leading the Ulster Orchestra is as impressive as the work is likely to sound in Handley and the Ulster's performance. The themes are big, the harmonies are bigger, the rhythms are bigger yet, and the colors are the biggest of all, but none of it is especially memorable. One recalls being impressed more than one remembers the music. One remembers Linda Finnie's swooping mezzo soprano and Raphael Wallfisch's soaring cello far more readily than remembering the music they performed. Chandos' early digital sound seems less hard and glaring in this reissue. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released July 1, 1984 | Chandos

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Classical - Released December 29, 1995 | Conifer Classics

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Keyboard Concertos - Released February 1, 2004 | Chandos

Vernon Handley's 1986 and 1989 recordings of Grieg with the Ulster Orchestra were not particularly well regarded in their time. But then, most of Handley's recordings were not particularly well regarded in their time. But, then, their time was the early years of digital, the years when hard, glassy, and very loud sound was king. Even in Handley's best performances of the period -- one thinks immediately of his Vaughan Williams' Sixth and Elgar Symphony No. 2 -- one had to listen through the sound to get to the performances beneath. But the sheer physical effort involved in listening through hard, glassy, and very loud sound made any victory Pyrrhic. In this splendidly remastered 24-bit recording, Handley and the Ulster's performances are granted clear, clean, and very, very loud sound. The clear and clean part only helps one hear how really beautiful Handley's performances were. What was once hard is now rich and full and what was once glassy is now brilliant and voluptuous. Handley's interpretations are old-school British with stiff-upper-lip-but-a-tear-in-the-eye performances; imagine a less emotional Barbirolli or an ever-so-slightly more emotional Boult. All of it is grand: the British have always revered Grieg's robust sentimentality and Handley and the Ulster proudly uphold the tradition. © TiVo