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Bantock: Thalaba the Destroyer

Granville Bantock , Vernon Handley Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £19.95
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Bantock: Thalaba the Destroyer + Bantock: Hebridean & Celtic Symphonies + Bantock: The Cyprian Goddess
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Granville Bantock
  • Audio CD (5 Nov 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00005RT4E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,254 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prelude to 'The Song of Songs'
2. Prelude to 'Omar Khayyam'
3. Camel Caravan from 'Omar Khayyam'
4. Caristiona (No. 1 of 'Two Hebridean Sea Poems')
5. Processional (No. 1 of 'Two Orchestral Scenes')
6. Thalaba the Destroyer

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

Continuing Hyperion's pioneering Bantock series, Vernon Handley and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra provide another lavish feast for the senses in Bantock: Thalaba the Destroyer . Bantock's musical language is heart-on-sleeve Romanticism sometimes coloured by Oriental references with, nevertheless, an identifiably English accent. Vernon Handley's passionate advocacy of this music ensures committed performances from the RPO. Hyperion's recording is everything one has come to expect from this company, enabling detail to register fully within a natural perspective. The major part of the programme is given over to the extended tone poem Thalaba the Destroyer, but the other items are no less fascinating, from the evocation of the desert at night in the Prelude to Omar Khayyám through to the magically scored, powerful Processional and the Straussian-sounding Prelude to The Song of Songs. Thalaba (1899) shows the clear influence of Tchaikovsky in its expressive and musical vocabulary. It is an engaging, involving musical tale worthy of more frequent performance in the concert hall. The disc from the same forces which includes both the Celtic and Hebridean symphonies forms the ideal complement to the present issue. --Colin Clarke

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Granville tone poems, including Thalaba the DestroyerBantock was a London-born English composer and conductor whose life bridged the 19th and 20th centuries. The dates of his birth and death (1868-1946) and just over a decade later than those of the much better known Edward Elgar. His music is tuneful and highly melodic and very often dramatic. There are six works on this Hyperion CD. We open with the Prelude to a choral work with text taken verbatim from the `Song of Songs' in the Bible. Though the composition was begun in 1912 it was not completed until 1926. Bantock was intrigued by the culture of ancient Greece and by those of the Middle and Far East. The second work on the CD is the prelude to another literary setting - the poetry of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam. The third track is the only choral piece, partly wordless, for the Camel Caravan from the same work. This is followed by the first of Two Hebridean Sea Poems and the first of Two Orchestral Scenes. The final work on the disc is the longest at 26 minutes: it is Thalaba the Destroyer. This is the first of six orchestral tone poems composed by Bantock. It was inspired by a long narrative poem of the same name by one of the English Romantic `lake poets' of Cumbria, Robert Southey. All of Bantock's music is easy to enjoy on a first hearing and its depth emerges with repeated hearing. The music is played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley, recorded in 2001.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good Bantock disc... 27 Jan 2012
By os TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I have been a fan of Granville Bantock for some years now and hence have been slowly exploring (but with great pleasure)the back-catalogue of Hyperion recordings, a series that do great justice to the name of this most under rated of British composers. If you enjoy the orchestral works of composers like Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Strauss(Richard) then Bantock will perhaps well worth getting to know. His music has a powerful surging melodic quality -where musical incident, drama and beguilingly vivid orchestration are ever present along with more atmospheric and languidly romantic interludes. In short, this music is big hearted and full of life and though some of the great man's influences do occasionally peek through, Bantok still has an original voice and character, that sets him apart from his peers.

I would recommend starting with Bantock's 'Hebridean Symphony' before getting this disc, though there is much to enjoy here. The CD features great performances of some of Bantock's less performed (although entirely worthwhile)works, the sound quality as usual with Hyperion is excellent as are the informative sleevenotes. Overall, a nice addition to anyone's Bantock collection.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A NON-EXPERT BUT FIRMLY-HELD OPINION... 15 Oct 2002
By Larry L. Looney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
First of all, I want to thank the folks at Hyperion, along with Vernon Handley and all of the musicians involved, for providing such an amazing array of recordings to serve as an introduction, for me, to the work of this composer. I have only two of the discs so far, but it's my goal to acquire most of them, based on the beauty I've found here -- both in the compositions themselves and in the performances. As I've mentioned above, I would NEVER claim to be an expert on classical music -- I have my favorite composers that I enjoy, but the depth of my knowledge and experience is far outclassed by more others than I would care to imagine.
That being said, I was struck by the evocative qualities of Bantock's compositions as much as by their sheer beauty. I've found a certain sweet naivete in the works of several British composers -- and this is something I find honest and charming, not something I see as a detraction, or amateurish in any way whatsoever. The fascination that Bantock obviously felt for 'things Eastern' is evident in the two excerpts from his 'Omar Khayyam' work found here, as well as in the lengthy title piece. The composer integrates middle-eastern themes into his work in a way that displays his genuine respect and affection for them -- as well as the more romantic, exotic attraction that pulled on him.
When I first listened to this disc, I was struck by what I felt was an extremely low volume level. As the disc played on, however, I found that this was necessary to accommodate the amazingly wide dynamic range of the performance. Now when I insert this disc into my player, I know to 'turn it right up' --and the results are stunning. Hyperion has a richly deserved fine reputation for their recording quality -- and this disc displays that nicely.
I can't begin to claim to hear Tchaikovsky's influence here, or another composer's influence there, in any of these works -- I don't doubt for a moment that they're there, but the enjoyment I receive every time I listen to this disc (or to my other Bantock cd, on Hyperion as well, with the Hebridean & Celtic Symphonies) is of such a level that it really doesn't matter to me. Every composer that has ever set pen to a blank score has been influenced by the great artists that he or she admired during their formative years (and throughout their careers as well, no doubt) -- those influences are absorbed and re-made by the best of them, and even with them 'on board', some incredibly creative works have been produced throughout musical history. This is true in any genre, not just in classical music.
The enjoyment of the listener -- the extent to which they are moved, and their lives enriched by the experience -- that's the yardstick.
This is an amazing recording ?I've been listening to it repeatedly for several months now, and I'm nowhere near tired of it yet.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fabulous Bantock Disc 15 Jan 2002
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have all of the Hyperion Sir Granville Bantock recordings, so I was looking forward to this disc; I was not disappointed. The majority of the works recorded here are excerpted from larger works. The Prelude from the Song of Songs, Carisona No. 1 and Processional No. 1 are typical of Bantock: lyrical and tuneful music that is masterly in expression. The excerpts from Omar Khayyam are evocative of the Middle East and exotic without being banal. The Prelude is a nocturne as if to depict the night breeze of the desert. The Camel Caravan is very effective, particularly with the use of camel bells, the use of a chorus give the piece a rousing quality.
Thalaba the Destroyer is the principle work on this disc and is a marvelous tone poem. Although Bantock was influenced by Tchaikovsky in writing this music it is not an imitation of the Russian composer. Thalaba is characteristic of Bantock`s approach to conveying a dramatic picture. The story behind this work is good versus evil with Thalaba as the sole survivor of his family, with a duty to avenge his father who has been killed by the demon Okba.
The booklet notes are very good and provide a background on each of the tracks. It astonishes that music this good has not received the attention it deserves. This new disc is a great introduction to Bantock's music and will be a welcomed addition to those already familiar with his music.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed 11 Aug 2002
By John Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Bantock: Thalaba the Destroyer
Preludes to "The Song of Songs" and "Omar Khayyam
Camel Caravan from "Omar Khayyam"
"Caristiona"
"Processional"
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley
Hyperion 67250
Bantock has been hit and miss for me. His "Celtic Symphony" and tone poem,
"The Witch of Atlas" are polished, individual and evocative. The "Hebridean
Symphony" begins in an inspired and compelling manner-with its pre-dawn
wisps of horn and violin melody floating over darkly adumbrative seas-but
when Bantock's morning mists burn off, the grand hull of the HMS Richard
Strauss suddenly looms uncomfortably close.
Derivation is fine as long as we're not reminded too much of old loves.
"Thalaba the Destroyer" was written in 1899 at which time Bantock had
conducted a series of all-Tchaikovsky concerts. Both conductor and audience
enjoyed quite an enthusiasm for the Russian at the time, and with "Thalaba,"
Bantock quite unapologetically tips his hat to him.
From the air-cleaving brass punctuations to the sizzling string tremolos, I
can sense an extraordinary commitment on the part of the RPO's members as
only a fellow musician can. Handley has always been a favorite of mine;
turning in performances that are both vivid and tight, yet never emotionally
undernourished. Zeinab's theme, (Thalaba's mother), is a wonderful extended
melody repeated with a counter-melody that creates some exquisite
suspensions. With Oneiza's music, (Thalaba's girlfriend), Bantock gives us
a fetching oboe melody over luminous strings. It's during the ensuing good
vs. evil battle music that one can hear most clearly that Bantock has
left Tchaikovsky atop the hill to bark orders down to the troops; but
still, unlike the stylistically piecemeal Hebridean Symphony, Thalaba the
Destroyer remains homogenous enough not to jar this listener's suspension
of disbelief.
It's the other pieces-the preludes "Song of Songs" and "Omar Khayyam," the
"Camel Caravan," "Caristonia," and "Processional"-where I find my mind
wandering. IMHO the titles are more exotic than the music itself; and for
all the talk about Eastern exotisism the percussion section is used quite
traditionally-to cap a climax or to limn offbeats. Are my post-Edwardian
let-it-all-hang-out sensibilities not cutting Bantock enough slack? No.
It's not just the conservatism. Beecham wrote of Bantock's music as:
"...a flow of genial melody, unmistakably of the `stagey' sort, a solid but
lively handling of the orchestra, and a by no means too common capacity for
passing swiftly and easily from one contrasting mood to another."
To be sure, Bantock writes with taste, his orchestrations delight, and
emotions ebb and flow like the River of Life itself. But rivers carry with
them bits and pieces of upstream memories gained along the way, and rivers
eventually empty into something grander than themselves. Bantock's music
"passes swiftly...from one contrasting mood to another" alright, but I find
his particular brand of through-composition in these pieces ultimately
unsatisfying because I don't hear or even sense any overall unity or
development. Not even the hidden kind.
Certainly it's possible to create music that is both amorphous and unified,
(think of Delius' Irmelin Prelude, VW's "Fen County," or Schreker's
Intermezzo from "Der ferne Klang"), as these composers at least buffet
their clouds here and there with wisps of repeated melodic or
rhythmic motifs and discreet symphonic development. Even Sibelius savors his
spring water for a few moments before swallowing.
Without any development or reiteration, pieces like Bantock's "Caristiona"
can seem like a river of unrelated and inchoate preludes. Regarding the few
strophic sections to be found in the marches within "Camel Caravan" and the
"Processional," I found myself ironically *yearning* for more variation. My
thrill regarding Bantock's prodigious orchestral techniques
aside--when splashed by his occasional grand gestures or when riding the
falls into his climactic seas, I sometimes find little to hold on to.
If you don't have any Bantock, I would recommend trying out an earlier
Hyperion release featuring the uneven but ultimately satisfying Hebridian
Symphony. IMHO the fillers, (including the Celtic Symphony), are much more
successful than those included with
"Thalaba the Destroyer."
John Smyth
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another mostly successful installment in the series, but not the place to start 27 Sep 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hyperion continues their superb series of the orchestral music of Granville Bantock with what is, probably, the least distinguished release in the series - yet it is a more than worthwhile one nevertheless. And at least it is a magnificently performed and recorded as the other issues in the series. As the other discs, this one displays Bantock as an eminent orchestrator, but one who could use the orchestra for more than mere pyrotechnics, indeed rather to emphasize strong themes subjected to skillful and clever developments and cogent argumentation. His assured compositional technique is certainly able to support large-scale structures without losing the listener's interest, even though (apart from the main item) this disc focuses mainly on smaller, evocative and colorful tone pictures.

Processional sounds sometimes as a cross between Tchaikovsky and Elgar, but its majestic confidence is perhaps a little over the top, threatening to lapse into banality at times. Yet there is some very effective material in here (and also some impressive orchestral effects), and it is very well worth hearing even if though is very far from being Bantock's best work. Caristonia is a delicate, wonderful piece of nostalgia, subtly nuanced and finely textured with a tinge of sepia. It is also wonderfully scored.

But it is Thalaba which is the centerpiece here. A relatively early work drawing heavily on Tchaikovsky, both in terms of harmonic progression, general character and also certain twists to the instrumentation, it is a fine work, darkly hued and with an undercurrent of fiery energy. But it lacks both the thematic distinction and the magical atmosphere of some of his later tone poems such as Fifine at the fair. Still, it is an enjoyable work of some distinction, and in performances as good as the ones it receives from Vernon Handley and the RPO it comes across as a work of real stature.

The excerpts from Omar Khayyam are atmospheric and mildly interesting, but more effective in the context of the full work (available from Chandos). The Prelude from the Song of Songs is a sensuous, evocative piece, lush - even a little muggy at times - but well worth getting to know. But here the performances inexplicably hang fire a little - surely there is more power and intensity to be found in this score? Still, this release is on the whole an important addition to the catalogue, and with superb recorded sound it is very well worth acquiring. But if you are unfamiliar with Bantock's music I urge you to start with one of the earlier releases, in particular the one containing the Hebridean and Celtic symphonies or the one containing the marvelous orchestral song cycle Sappho.
4.0 out of 5 stars Bantock's tone poems including Thalaba the Destroyer 17 Oct 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Bantock was a London-born English composer and conductor whose life bridged the 19th and 20th centuries. The dates of his birth and death (1868-1946) and just over a decade later than those of the much better known Edward Elgar. His music is tuneful and highly melodic and very often dramatic. There are six works on this Hyperion CD. We open with the Prelude to a choral work with text taken verbatim from the `Song of Songs' in the Bible. Though the composition was begun in 1912 it was not completed until 1926. Bantock was intrigued by the culture of ancient Greece and by those of the Middle and Far East. The second work on the CD is the prelude to another literary setting - the poetry of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam. The third track is the only choral piece, partly wordless, for the Camel Caravan from the same work. This is followed by the first of Two Hebridean Sea Poems and the first of Two Orchestral Scenes. The final work on the disc is the longest at 26 minutes: it is Thalaba the Destroyer. This is the first of six orchestral tone poems composed by Bantock. It was inspired by a long narrative poem of the same name by one of the English Romantic `lake poets' of Cumbria, Robert Southey. All of Bantock's music is easy to enjoy on a first hearing and its depth emerges with repeated hearing. The music is played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley, recorded in 2001.
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