Lyrita - Celebrating Fifty Years Devoted To British Music - Set Two

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Set Two has a higher quotient of movements extracted from larger works. This is always an unsatisfactory approach but there was no alternative once Lyrita had chosen to represent composers in this way. Thus we have the finales of the impressive Joubert Symphony and the clean-limbed masculine energy of the Rootham First Symphony. Bewail the fact that Lyrita and Handley never got around to recording Rootham’s Second Symphony - once studio-broadcast by Handley with a BBC Scottish contingent. Rubbra could have been instanced by the cuttingly atmospheric Soliloquy for cello and orchestra but instead we have a movement from his toweringly potent Fourth Symphony which in its cogency and emotional impact overshadows most of the RVW symphonies. Still’s Third Symphony is there too - represented somewhat eccentrically by the originally Saga-produced recording of the outcast Goossens conducting the LSO. Jacob’s wartime First Symphony is also referenced as is Wordsworth’s Third. George Lloyd’s Fourth Symphony - an expiation of horrifying experiences on the Murmansk convoys - is dazzling, surprisingly dance-inflected and sometimes bafflingly good-natured.

The RCM doyens Parry and Stanford are represented by the meaty Brahmsian Symphonic Variations which Boult later re-recorded in 1977 for EMI. Here he is heard with the LSO. The EMI project used his more accustomed partners, the LPO. Stanford is heard in ‘Oirish’ mode with the Irish Rhapsody No.4 - it’s a nice piece but the conductor is Braithwaite not Boult. Outstanding are Jones’s vivacious Dance Fantasy and Lambert’s glorious Music for Orchestra. Look past the John Major-like greyness of the Lambert title and you will find a work of symphonic bearing and memorably moving melodic concentration. I have high hopes that when someone gets to record Cecil Gray’s Syllogism we will find a work of similar attractions hiding behind its academically bleached title. Major works, presented whole, include Leigh’s neo-classical crystal-cut harpsichord Concertino, Rawsthorne’s Symphonic Studies, RVW’s stirring Tallis Fantasia and a stunning display of devastating mastery by Grace Williams - her Ballads for Orchestra. The Williams is on no account to be missed. The Walton Music for Children is intriguing in prospect but ultimately faceless. Bushier-tailed are the Moeran Rhapsody No. 2 from amongst the earliest Lyrita Recorded Edition LPs and the flamboyant Santiago de Espada overture by Malcolm Williamson. Back in time we go to Warlock’s An Old Song - and we must again thank Lyrita for avoiding obvious choices; delightful to hear something off the beaten track rather than another Serenade or Capriol both of which beckoned from the Lyrita coffers. Wind forward to that magician of the impressionist-expressionist genre, Cyril Scott. When Early One Morning was first issued Scott was a very great rarity and the Herrmann-Ogdon partnership was even more exotic even if Bernard Herrmann was a well known Anglophile who conducted Rubbra, Finzi, RVW, Delius and many others. From later generations we hear the Maconchy Music for Strings, which now just fails to engage me, the more attractive Mathias Sinfonietta and at the lighter yet polished end of the spectrum Phyllis Tate’s London Fields suite. Tate is another composer deserving of more recording projects: I recommend her Saxophone Concerto (1944) but there is much more including many works for voice with orchestra or smaller instrumental ensemble.

The documentation for these sets is a joy. Each booklet starts with a two page personal recollection by Edward Greenfield of ‘Lyrita Recorded Edition’ and a three pager by Lewis Foreman: ‘Meeting Richard Itter’. After this comes four pages of photos - some (Braithwaite, Wordsworth) not seen before. The highly detailed track-listing follows this. I only regret that although (p) dates are given there are no dates and locations of recording sessions. Last but not least there are extended yet succinct background notes on each composer and each featured piece. These are by the astute and knowledgeable Paul Conway. Mr Conway has appeared on the Lyrita scene only since 2007 but he has, through his writings, already made himself part of Lyrita’s resplendent achievement.

- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

Lyrita - Celebrating Fifty Years devoted to British Music - Set Two

CD 1 [67:46]
Gordon JACOB Symphony No.1 (I) - LPO/Wordsworth [10:08]
Daniel JONES Dance Fantasy - BBCWSO/Thomson [7:43]
John JOUBERT Symphony No.1 (IV) - LPO/Handley [9:56]
Constant LAMBERT Music for Orchestra - LPO/Wordsworth [13:17]
Walter LEIGH Concertino for Harpsichord and Strings - Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) - LPO/Braithwaite [9:29]
George LLOYD Symphony No.4 (I) - PO/Downes [17:08]

CD 2 [77:51]
Elizabeth MACONCHY Music for Strings - LPO/Wordsworth [18:23]
William MATHIAS Sinfonietta - NYOW/Davison [13:09]
E. J. MOERAN Rhapsody No.2 - LPO/Boult [13:18]
Hubert PARRY Symphonic Variations - LSO/Boult [12:51]
Alan RAWSTHORNE Symphonic Studies - LPO/Pritchard [20:02]
CD 3 [79:13] Cyril ROOTHAM Symphony in C minor (IV) - LPO/Handley [7:24] Edmund RUBBRA Symphony No.4 (I) - PO/Del Mar [13:04]
Cyril SCOTT Early One Morning - John Ogdon (piano) LPO/Herrmann [14:48]
Charles V. STANFORD Irish Rhapsody No.4 - LPO/Braithwaite [18:52]
Robert STILL Symphony No.3 (II) - LSO/Goossens [11:27]
Phyllis TATE London Fields - LPO/Wordsworth [13:05]

CD 4 [73:04]
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Tallis Fantasia - LPO/Boult [16:16]
William WALTON Music for Children - LPO/Walton [13:15]
Peter WARLOCK An Old Song - LPO/Boult [5:56]
Grace WILLIAMS Ballads for Orchestra - BBCWSO/Handley [17:10]
Malcolm WILLIAMSON Santiago de Espada - RLPO/Groves [6:32]
William WORDSWORTH Symphony No.3 (II) - LPO/Braithwaite [13:46]

rec. 1966-2007. ADD/DDD
LYRITA SRCD.2338 [4 CDs: 67:46 + 77:51 + 79:13 + 73:04]

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: SRCD2338

  • UPC: 5020926233820

  • Label: Lyrita

  • Composer: Gordon Jacob

  • Conductor: Barry Wordsworth

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra