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Bliss conducts Bliss (Checkmate, Miracle in the Gorbals etc.)

4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Sir Arthur Bliss
  • Composer: Sir Arthur Bliss
  • Audio CD (27 Jun. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heritage
  • ASIN: B00561D33Y
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,579 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Humphreys on 16 July 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are other very good interpretations of these suites - particularly Checkmate - but Bliss brings out the power and cohesion, so the music is more persuasive and engaging without losing its edge, and the sound quality is very good, particularly given its age. It's a pity we don't get the whole music for both ballets rather than the concert selections (though at least it leaves space for 'Things to Come') and the absence of the Prelude to Checkmate is a real loss. But David Lloyd Jones and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra have recorded the whole of Checkmate for Naxos, and there's even the Sadlers' Wells Theatre Ballet's production from 1982 on DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Davis VINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was delighted to see this back again! Bliss was an excellent conductor of his own music and these performances are, in many ways, unrivalled. The 'Checkmate Suite' has an urgency unlike any other recording known to me and a heightened sense of drama - a truly compelling performance. The recordings come from 1955-1960, but the Heritage transfer is excellent, conveying a great sense of immediacy. Miracle in the Gorbals is a highly memorable and darkly moving score - one of Bliss's finest scores and the drama and power of the ballet is fully conveyed here. I was especially thrilled to see Bliss's own recording of the suite from his film score 'Things to Come' back in the catalogue - largely because, not only is it a fine performance of the work as a whole, but it also includes 'Machines' - a short but compelling movement, which fully conveys a sense of looming threat and imminent catastrophe (it would be ideal background music for a documentary on the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s). It has always mystified me why this movement (which Bliss obviously considered important enough to include in his own Suite) has been invariably left out of subsequent recordings (including that compiled by Christopher Palmer for example). As far as I'm aware the only other recording (and there are many of them) to include 'Machines' is Rumon Gamba's complete recording of 'Things to Come' on Chandos. It's also good to have back Campoli's recording of 'Theme and Cadenza for Solo Violin and Orchestra' and the cheerfully uplifting 'Welcome the Queen'. There have been earlier manifestations of some of these recordings on Belart and Dutton,for example (coupled with other works), but this excellent programme is unique.

Don't hesitate, this is one of the most rewarding CDs of music by Bliss. James Jolly provides concise, yet very helpful booklet notes too. Great stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JohnW on 18 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD
This is the second CD of music by Sir Arthur Bliss conducted by the composer to appear on the Heritage label. Checkmate was originally recorded in stereo by World Record Club (T52) and was reissued by EMI on CD some years ago. The Decca recordings of Things to Come and Welcome the Queen from 1959 are also in stereo. The performances that complete the CD are of an earlier vintage from 1954 and 1955 but the mono sound as presented here is more than respectable.

Checkmate is a thrilling score that has been recorded on numerous occasions but no other version quite matches the electricity captured here by Bliss and his orchestra. Despite one or two passing moments of insecure intonation and ensemble there is something very special about this. The Sinfonia of London was a regular house band of WRC in the 1950s and 60s and this is one of their most brilliant recordings. The Dance of the Red Pawns opens the suite with remarkable vitality and immediately demands the listener’s attention. The Entry of the Black Queen and Ceremony of the Red Bishops are prime examples of Bliss at his melancholic, atmospheric best. This is, dark, atmospheric music presented with elastic phrasing and nobility. Finale:Checkmate never fails to bring the house down. Norman Del Mar’s Proms performance, once available on a BBC Music Magazine CD, really hits the mark here but so does this studio recording. OK, the timpani would have benefitted from the use of harder sticks but that’s a minor quibble. The playing is inspired and the recording is close, bright and involving.

Miracle in the Gorbals falls just short of Checkmate in terms of memorable material but there are many thrilling, exciting moments to be heard.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clara Kellett on 10 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wonderful introduction to the music of bliss,we should hear more of the music of bliss he is a national treasure
I reccomend this disc
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