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British Composers Premiere Collections Vol.1

Dorothy Howell , Maurice Blower , Josef Holbrooke , Marius Stravinsky , Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Marius Stravinsky
  • Composer: Dorothy Howell, Maurice Blower, Josef Holbrooke
  • Audio CD (10 Feb 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cameo Classics
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,907 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Howell, Tone Poem, Lamia - Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra
2. Blower, Symphony in C - Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra
3. Holbrooke, Variations on 'The Girl I Left Behind Me' - Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Marius Stravinsky is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Karelia Philharmonic Orchestra. A British citizen, he was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 1979. He is bi-lingual in English and Russian as may be gathered from his musical education. As a violinist he attended the Central Moscow Music School from 1985 and in 1989 went to the Yehudi Menuhin School. He won a top music scholarship to Eton College in 1992. He attended the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music from 1997 to 2002. He was Assistant Conductor of Moscow State Symphony Orchestra until 2004, when he accepted the post of Resident Conductor of Helikon Opera in Moscow. He was assistant to Claudio Abbado in the Don Giovanni production in 1998 in Aix-en-Provene. He has guest conducted top orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, Queensland Symphony, and the State Orchestras of Lithuania and Belarus.


'Lamia is a particularly welcomed discovery, and the considerable enterprise of Cameo Classics should be loudly applauded.' --Michael Round, International Record Review, May 2014

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Composers Premiere Collection Vol.1 15 Feb 2014
By Wantage
Format:Audio CD
This is a highly enjoyable CD of rare British orchestral works. Dorothy Howell's symphonic poem Lamia strikes you immediately as an orchestral wonder with fantastic orchestration. This is all the more remarkable as the composer was 20 at the time of the first performance. The piece was very highly regarded by Sir Henry Wood and you can hear why.
The largest work on this CD is Maurice Blower's Symphony in C. This was evidently discovered in the composer's papers in the attic after his death. The score was complete but some work has been done in readiness for performance and recording, although it is stressed these are not significant changes to the work. This is an extremely colourful work and tonal throughout.
Holbrooke's Variations on "The Girl I Left Behind Me" is a fun piece and as the booklet points out would not be out of place in the Last Night of the Proms.
The CD is beautifully recorded with an informative booklet on these very worthy works but sadly ever heard. Well done for making them available.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Delius
Format:Audio CD
Apart from C19 Jewish/German composers the other strand in Cameo Classics’ recent release schedule centres on infrequently heard British music. Indeed many of these pieces are all but unknown….. a fate often shared by the people who wrote them.This CD is a case in point; only the name of Joseph Holbrooke I suspect will be at all familiar, and even then not very.

His variations on “The Girl I left behind me” though are a delight. A construct of the theme and 15 variations I found them constantly inventive, and often witty. One reminded me of the aimiable drunk, tottering home down the lane after closing time, depicted in Malcolm Arnold’s set of Scottish Dances. Elsewhere reminiscences of other bona fide melodies surface, such as “Auld Lang Syne” and “The British Grenadiers”.

As the accompanying notes point out, this work could surely join Holbrooke’s other set of variations on “Three Blind Mice” (a favourite of Sir Henry Wood), and become a potential candidate for the “Last Night of the Proms”.

However, this is not the principal work on the disc; that honour falls to the Symphony by Maurice Blower, an altogether more substantial experience, but like its companion … a real find.

Completed before the Second war it lay undiscovered for decades until found and revived by the composer’s son. Reading the notes accompanying the CD one becomes aware of the labour of love undertaken by him and sympathetic friends in realising a performable score and instrumental parts. How gratifying it must have been for him, not only to hear it subsequently performed by the Havant Symphony Orchestra, but then to see it included on this CD!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cameo Classics new issue of British composers 28 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD
Wyastone Estate has a new label and under it (Cameo Classics) has issued volume one of a series devoted to British composers of lesser renown. The disc here reviewed contains an orchestral tone poem Lamia written by Dorothy Howell (1898-1982) at the age of twenty, a symphony by Maurice Blower (1894-1982) and a fun set of variations by Josef Holbrooke (1878-1958). These items, recorded in 2008 by the Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra under Marius Stravinsky, receive splendid performances.

The Howell piece, lasting fifteen minutes, is based on a poem Lamia by Keats, an enchanted tale of the love between a woman, cruelly turned into a snake but redeemed and reinstated as a woman by Hermes, and a Cretan youth Lycius with, however, a tragic conclusion. Dorothy Howell, once referred to as "the finest woman composer of her era", is also represented in the Cameo Classics series by a piano concerto and by a Dutton release by violinist Lorraine McAslan of chamber pieces.

The main work on this disc is the Blower Symphony in C, playing for just over half an hour, a four movement work which, written in 1939, lay undiscovered until rescued by the composer’s son, who published it himself. Maurice Blower studied under Sir Walford Davies and Dr. Harold Darke, attaining his Doctorate of Music in 1939. After the war he became Secretary of the Petersfield Music Festival and remaining so for the next 30 years. Among his works are a concerto as well as an eclogue for horn and orchestra, both written for Dennis Brain and available also on the Cameo Classics label.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this little-known music a chance! 15 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD
New to the Wyastone stable is the Cameo Classics label. This was a company founded in 1973 by two men trained as sound engineers with BBC TV in London and Granada TV in Manchester. They have concentrated on recording unfairly-neglected classical music by British and Jewish German composers. It reminds me of the series Chandos undertook with Matthias Bamert and the London Mozart Players, to record similarly-neglected composers from the time of Mozart. There are many gems to be discovered - or re-discovered - and enjoyed in both series. Why should it be only the household names who get forever re-recorded?

Thus it is that I had the pleasure of listening to Vol. 1 of British Composers, Premiere Collections, recorded in the capital city of Karelia. The orchestra is the Karelia State Philharmonic, conducted by the 35-year-old Marius Stravinsky - British despite his illustrious Russian name. He started as a violinist, very young, and came to England when he was 10. He went to the Menuhin School, thence to Eton and on to both the Royal Academy and Royal College of music, so he's had a thorough education in Britain! He feels more at home in Russia at the moment, where he is the youngest man ever appointed to conduct this excellent orchestra. He has enjoyed introducing the musicians and the Russian audiences to British music, which he now greatly admires. He had been taught, when a child in Russia, that British music was not very good. Now he loves to conduct Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Walton and all these households names to British audiences. Less-well-known names, however are on the menu for this series.

The first work is by Dorothy Howell (1898-1982).
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