Edmund Rubbra's (1901-1986) Fourth Symphony (1941) addresses the fact of the war just as Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony does: Not by representing it, however, but by an invocation of profound religious piety and serene faith in deliverance from evil. In a discussion of Gustav Holst in "Romanticism and the Twentieth Century" (1962), Wilfrid Mellers observed the importance of rhythm in a modally oriented ethos that lacks the internal conflict of sonata procedure and spoke of Holst's "repeated metrical pattern[s]" as the beginning of "the dominance of ostinato over British music." Yet Mellers also noted a paradox in any composer's reliance on ostinato to produce a feeling of movement, for "the effect of the ostinato is to destroy the time sense." Maybe. Ostinato can also generate a sense of crisis and tension. The five-pulse chordal figure (two quarter notes, one of them dotted, followed by an eighth-note and a couplet, all dotted) heard in the bass register in the combination of clarinet, oboe, and horn in the First Movement (Con Moto) of Rubbra's Fourth does just this, while the long-breathed melody given out by the violins pits its repose against the ostinato's slow restlessness. Harold Truscott wrote, in his chapter on Rubbra and Tippett in Robert Layton's symposium on "The Symphony" (1972), of the "sensuous colour" of this "rare and rich" score. In its timbres, indeed, Rubbra's Fourth does anticipate Vaughan Williams' Fifth, which followed a year or so later, not least in the colorational resemblance of the two opening movements. The Second Movement (Allegretto Grazioso) functions as an intermezzo in Brahmsian fashion and even manages to sound a bit like Brahms (gentle woodwind melodies over a slow dance rhythm, at times definitely a waltz, in the strings). The Third Movement is actually two movements in one: An "Introduzione" (Grave & Molto Calmo) and an "Allegro Maestoso." Faith triumphs as the Phrygian mode gives way to E-Flat Major in the coda. The Tenth Symphony (1974), Rubbra's penultimate, pares the instrumentation down to woodwind, two horns, and strings; it also collapses the traditional four movements into a single span, as in Liszt's "Dante" Sonata or Schoenberg's First Chamber Symphony. The Tenth constitutes an excellent starting-place for anyone interested in becoming acquainted with Rubbra, for it demonstrates his typical procedures in a most transparent way. He begins by offering a few intervals, continues by elaborating them into a complex, quasi-fugal web; the slow elaboration then gives way to a dance, based on the same material, but speeded up. There is a return to slower tempi followed by a brief coda - all in the space of fifteen minutes. The ultimate Rubbra symphony, the Eleventh, restores the full orchestra but compresses the working-out even more tightly than does the Tenth. Rubbra willingly explores the darknesses of his world, but always comes back in the end to the redeeming light. His creed might be summed up in lines of George Herbert: "Sure thou wilt joy, by gaining me / To fly home like a laden bee / Unto that hive of beams / and garland-streams." Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales turn in warm performances that sort out the difficulties of this music, as the critic wrote, "rich and rare."