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Symphonies - Released April 28, 2008 | Chandos

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Classical - Released November 21, 2011 | Parlophone UK

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Classical - Released February 5, 2007 | Warner Classics

Previously released in 2000 at a playing time of 64 minutes, this 2007 reissue of EMI's Russian Spectacular in the Classics for Pleasure series clocks in at just over 82 minutes and offers considerably more music at a reduced price than it did at the midline, thanks to the addition of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Hamlet -- Fantasy Overture, Op. 67. This 1974 performance by Vernon Handley and the London Philharmonic Orchestra may not be the most riveting rendition of the piece available, and the music may not be especially Russian in character; but why quibble over such a substantial bonus track? Besides, the rest of the program, which Handley recorded with the Hallé Orchestra in 1988, features some of the most famous nineteenth century classics by major Russian composers, and the performances are quite exciting and colorful, with surprisingly good audio for an early digital recording. With such favorites as Mikhail Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla Overture, Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio espagnol, and Alexander Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia, to name only a few of the popular works included here, and with fairly thorough liner notes, this is a terrific budget package that belongs in any beginner's collection and it may even satisfy more experienced listeners. © TiVo
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Symphonies - Released March 25, 2008 | Chandos

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Symphonies - Released March 25, 2008 | Chandos

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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Symphonies - Released March 26, 2008 | Chandos

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Classical - Released July 16, 1997 | Sony Classical

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Symphonic Music - Released April 29, 2008 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Music - Released March 25, 2008 | 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 January 1, 2000 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 10 de Classica-Répertoire - Hi-Res Audio
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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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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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Symphonic Poems - Released March 1, 2006 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released February 1, 2004 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released April 28, 2008 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released September 1, 1999 | Chandos

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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
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Classical - Released September 1, 2013 | Chandos

Booklet