I knew if I waited long enough that Chandos would eventually release these six recordings of Frank Bridge's orchestral music in a box, and here it is, 2 cm of wonderful music. Originally recorded between 2000 and 2004, they represent a most valuable part of the late, and much lamented, Richard Hickox, no one seems to have filled the void left by Hickox and Handley yet, and we need a new champion of British music!
The six discs represent a great recording achievement, all of Bridge's major orchestral works are here along with the vast majority of his smaller ones. All the works are given a stirling performance, the BBC Welsh are on exceptional form throughout while Howard Shelly (Phantasam) and Alban Gerhardt (Oration) give fine performances in the concertante works, the Welsh chorus are excellent in A Prayer, and the three solo singers, Roderick Williams, Sarah Connolly and the late great Philip Langridge give spirited performaces of the orchestral songs.
I dare say there are favourite recordings of some of these works, Charlie Groves recording of The Sea with the RLPO, for example, which in my opinion will never be surpassed, although the present recording comes close, but to have all these fine works recorded so well and collected together in one slim-line box is most valuable. The note, while not as in depth as the original, give an excellent insight into the man and his music, which coupled with the wonderful, as always, Chandos sound, make this my re-issue of the year!