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Jeffrey Davis "jmd555555" (Sussex UK)

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E. J. Moeran, Cello Concerto & Cello Sonata
E. J. Moeran, Cello Concerto & Cello Sonata
Price: 13.62

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely moving, 5 April 2008
In the (excellent) booklet notes which accompany this CD, Paul Conway refers to the fact that Peers Coetmore (the dedicatee, first performer and Moeran's wife) had ceased to be a regular performer by the time she made this recording of the Cello Concerto in 1969 and that, as a result, her performance is "occasionally marred by technical fallibility." This is true and the cello playing is certainly not as polished as that to be found in rival performances (on Chandos for example). Having said this, Coetmore and Boult's partnership result in what is, for me at least, the most moving account of this score (Moeran's greatest work along with the Symphony)that I have ever heard. Whatever Coetmore's playing lacks in technical finesse, is clearly compensated by the depth of feeling conveyed. The emotional climax of the finale is overwhelming. I believe that this performance is not simply of "historical and musicological interest" as Paul Conway suggests, but that it is a wonderfully moving account of this fine score. Boult and the LPO provide the best accompaniment on disc and the Lyrita transfer is outstanding (just listen to the clarity of the harps in the slow movement of the Cello Concerto). Moeran regarded the late Cello Sonata as his masterpiece and it is Moeran's final statement of his musical values. The short Prelude for Cello and Piano (from 1944) is an eloquent piece too. Notwithstanding the caveat about Peers Coetmore's playing, this is, in my view, a great disc in all ways.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2014 5:01 PM GMT

Dyson: Nebuchadnezzar; Two Coronation Anthems; Three Songs of Praise; Woodland Suite
Dyson: Nebuchadnezzar; Two Coronation Anthems; Three Songs of Praise; Woodland Suite
Price: 13.61

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and darkly moving., 16 Mar 2008
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Although this starts off disconcertingly like Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, it soon moves into another direction. It is not so instantly memorable or dramatic as Walton's famous score but I am inclined to think that it is, in some ways, a rather deeper work which takes longer to give up its secrets. It is darkly moving and powerful with many memorable sequences. It is very much in the early 20th century English choral tradition and should resonate with those who enjoy the Walton or the choral scores of Vaughan Williams.

I wondered if in some way, with its theme of Jewish persecution, Nebuchadnezzar related to the time of its composition (1934) but there is no suggestion of this in the accompanying notes.

The third section "Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury" has some especially beautiful sections.

Excellent recording and performances. Well worth exploring.

Finzi - Intimations of Immortality; Hadley - The Trees So High
Finzi - Intimations of Immortality; Hadley - The Trees So High
Price: 18.16

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD, 14 Mar 2008
Unlike the other reviewer, I regard Patrick Hadley's "The Trees So High" as the more interesting work here. Finzi's "Intimations" has many moments of great beauty (like the wonderful opening) but it did not keep my attention gripped in the way that Hadley's score did and I will focus on this work.

"The Trees So High" is Hadley's masterpiece. In effect it is a hauntingly beautiful symphony with a vocal/choral last movement. It belongs in the English pastoral tradition with Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Ireland etc. In fact, I have seen it described (unfairly) as like "Vaughan Williams with water". I disagree; for all its great beauty, Vaughan Williams's music has a curiously impersonal quality to it, whereas Hadley's "Trees so High" is a deeply personal and intimate score. The tunes are beautiful and whenever I play the CD (as I often do), the music stays with me for a long time afterwards. Hadley's is a deeply moving, eloquent and poetic score dealing with the transitory nature of human existence.

This is the best performance on CD although there is a very fine alternative version on Chandos, which is desirable in view of the powerful and memorable scores by Philip Sainton on the same CD. This is one of the most desirable of the new Lyritas. Great cover art and very informative notes too.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2011 2:18 PM BST

London Symphony, A (Handley, Lpo)
London Symphony, A (Handley, Lpo)
Offered by shakedownrecords
Price: 34.21

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great No 2 but No 6 lacks impact, 9 Jan 2008
Whilst it is good to see Vernon Handley's earlier LPO LP recordings of these symphonies return to the catalogue, this is a bit of a mixed bag. The performance of A London Symphony is the highlight of this inexpensive double CD set. The performance has a greater depth and eloquence compared to the (admirable) later recording with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra but, unfortunately, the performance and especially the recording of the turbulent and mystical Sixth Symphony (Vaughan Williams's greatest symphony) simply lack the impact of the later (Liverpool) recording; you only have to compare the opening few bars of both versions to realise this. In one sense, this was a missed opportunity for EMI, as they could, instead, have issued the excellent, long unavailable, epic sibelian performance of the Sixth Symphony by Paavo Berglund, with the Bournemouth SO. This would have been a great coupling with Handley's fine LPO performance of A London Symphony. Never mind; this is still a fine set, made even more desirable through the inclusion of the entirely characteristic "Prelude and Fugue" for Organ and Orchestra (in a superior performance to its competitor on Chandos). The set is well presented with an atmospheric painting of the Houses of Parliament on the sleeve and informative notes from Piers Burton-Page.

Foulds - A World Requiem
Foulds - A World Requiem
Price: 24.21

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, 9 Jan 2008
I was fortunate enough to be at the 2007 performance of Foulds's "A World Requiem" (the first for eighty-one years) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which features on this recording.

It is a sprawling, mystical, twenty movement, choral epic of 90 minutes, which commemorates the war dead of all nations, and was composed in the immediate aftermath of The Great War 1914-18, being performed regularly on Armistice Day in London up until and including 1926. It was a privilege to be there for the revival of this great work. It is difficult to describe and will not be to everyone's taste but I was gripped throughout. Foulds was very interested in Indian music (he died there of cholera in 1939) and the work shows this influence to some degree,although it also anticipates modern minimalist tendencies, with its haunting repetitive sequences. There is perhaps less variety, contrast and drama, compared with other anti-war works like Vaughan Williams's Dona Nobis Pacem or Britten's War Requiem but there is no less depth of feeling in Foulds's score.

At the concert, the boy's choir and bands of trumpets were strategically located around the Albert Hall, to beautiful effect, but I was surprised at how well the recording coped with these challenges, maintaining the ethereal atmosphere throughout.

If you are caught up in it's unique atmosphere, this will be a great experience for you. The performances, recording, booklet notes and presentation are outstanding.

All credit to Chandos for recording this and Bantock's even more epic Omar Khayam within a few months of each other.

The Interesting Bits: The History You Might Have Missed
The Interesting Bits: The History You Might Have Missed
by Justin Pollard
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, 3 Jan 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is full of obscure historical titbits which are good fun to dip into. To quote just one example, there is Disraeli's explanation of the difference between a misfortune and a calamity: "if Gladstone fell into the Thames, that...would be a misfortune; and if anyone pulled him out, that would be a calamity."

For those interested in the obscure and entertaining byways of history, this is recommended.

Symphonies Nos. 16 And 19
Symphonies Nos. 16 And 19
Offered by RareRecordsLimited
Price: 4.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful stuff!, 3 Jan 2008
This is the second release in the Alto issues of Myaskovsky symphonies and all credit to them for picking up the torch after the sad collapse of Olympia (and issuing the remaining CDs at bargain price.)

Symphony 16 is a major utterance by Myaskovsky; written in 1936, at the height of the stalinist purges, it commemorates the loss of the massive aircraft "Maxim Gorky" following a mid-air collision. As such it shows the composer trying to come to terms with the regime by writing more "populist" music. Having said that and unlike some other composers, Myaskovsky never sacrificed his integrity and the symphony retains the familar soulful and introspective characteristics of the introverted composer. The funereal slow movement is a wonderful inspiration and contains one of those haunting Myaskovsky themes which remain in the memory long afterwards. It is one of my favourite movements in the whole cycle of Myaskovsky symphonies.

The 19th symphony for brass band is great fun but also a work of considerable depth, especially in the middle two movements (which Myaskovsky later arranged for conventional orchestra). Svetlanov and the Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra (the rather long-winded name of what was once the USSR Symphony Orchestra), give fine performances of both works. The wonderfully informative notes are by the late Per Skans (whose sad death in 2007 is mentioned in the booklet).

Don't miss this!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2012 8:06 PM GMT

Bainton: Symphony No. 3 / Boughton: Symphony no.1  "Oliver Cromwell"
Bainton: Symphony No. 3 / Boughton: Symphony no.1 "Oliver Cromwell"
Price: 14.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bainton Symphony No 3 is very moving., 17 Dec 2007
Edgar Bainton (1880-1956)was born in London but lived most of his life in Australia - although he was interned in Germany during the First World War. His valedictory Symphony No 3 was completed only shortly before his death. Work on it had been suspended following the death of Bainton's wife but a friend had gently challenged him to complete it - the result is probably his greatest work. Although it is written in a comparatively conventional idiom it is, in my view at least, a deeply moving work of considerable slumbering power and much depth-it ends on a note of hard-won triumph (or at least acceptance). I suspect that it will appeal to admirers of Parry, Vaughan Williams and Rubbra (although there are also echoes of Sibelius). The work is shot through with poetic moments of great beauty. I admire some works by Rutland Boughton, especially 'The Immortal Hour' and the Oboe Concerto but, I have to say, that I did not make much of his 'Oliver Cromwell symphony'.

Worth having for the Bainton though - a lovely work.

It's Hancock
It's Hancock

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Men; are you skinny?, 11 Dec 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: It's Hancock (Audio CD)
This is classic Hancock and a beautifully packaged CD containing over a dozen photographs of Hancock; as well as detailed notes, and nostalgically presented cover design concept. The Missing Page and The Reunion Party are two of the funniest Galton and Simpson scripts and even though Hancock had split with the two of them (with disastrous consequences for himself) by 1965, when the disc was recorded, Hancock still delivers fine performances (specially adapted from the scripts for TV).

A must for all Hancock fans.

Vaughan Williams: Hodie | Fantasia on Christmas Carols (Hilary Davan Wetton) (Naxos)
Vaughan Williams: Hodie | Fantasia on Christmas Carols (Hilary Davan Wetton) (Naxos)
Price: 6.01

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding performance of Hodie, 29 Nov 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great CD. I had always thought that Hodie, despite great moments of inspiration (such as the marvellously inspiriting conclusion)was a rather inferior score to earlier choral scores like Sancta Civitas and Dona Nobis Pacem, but Hilary Davan Wetton's new Naxos (super-budget) version has forced me to revise my earlier view. I still believe that the beautiful Sancta Civitas is Vaughan Williams's choral masterpiece ( although Dona Nobis Pacem and the late, neglected Epithalamion are, respectively, works of great power and beauty) but Hodie comes across as a much greater score in this recording. The main reason for this, I think, is because the conductor takes many crucial sections at a considerably slower tempo than David Willcocks in his fine EMI recording (although the overall timings are very similar) or Richard Hickox in his disappointing later recording (also EMI). Wetton thus invests the score with greater power and dignity. The whole work hangs together much more effectively here than in either earlier recording (although I would not want to be without the Willcocks version, especially for the unsurpassed conclusion "Ring out, ye crystal spheres": one of the best moments in all Vaughan Williams).

Another advantage here is the recording (made at Cadogan Hall, London). It is much clearer than the Willcocks or Hickox versions, with the organ making a much more audible contribution. Janice Watson, Peter Hoare and Stephen Gadd are outstanding soloists and all credit to the Guildford Choral Society and RPO and their conductor. Paradoxically, the performance of Fantasia on Christmas Carols is, perhaps, not as effective as the Barry Rose version coupled with the Willcocks recording of Hodie and Naxos don't provide any texts (unlike EMI with the Willcocks recording), which is a drawback, although they are available online.

In conclusion, this is a great CD, especially as it is so inexpensive. In this performance, my attention was gripped throughout and any longeurs were much less apparent. Hodie contains some great music (the setting of Hardy's "The Oxen" for example) and is a remarkably inspiriting and life-affirming celebration of Christmas from the octogenarian composer.

Don't hesitate!

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