Lloyd-Jones and the Northern Philarmonia are responsible for a classy and polished performance of the two pieces here. The Colour Symphony could hardly be better titled in this performance, as the range of orchestral colour and opulent melodies is very rich indeed. The strings of the Orchestra seem to sing with an almost luminous quality, and the music has a grace, and folk echoes, which are a little reminiscent of Holst's chamber work.
Adam Zero, as the score for Bliss's most successful ballet, is clearly much more episodic than the Symphony, and lacking the large sweeps of orchestral canvas of the former. However, there is invention and drama here aplenty, from the early excitement of Adam's birth (lovely percussion and brass work), to the tender beauty of the Love Song, and the final drama of the Dance with Death, LLoyd-Jones keeps the Orchestra on their performing toes throughout, in a very accessible performance. An excellent production job ensures this is a flawless disc throughout; small wonder it received outstanding Penguin and Gramophone reviews. If you're new to Bliss, this is the perfect introduction: melodic, accessible, and impeccably performed.
on 9 December 2011
Sir Arthur Bliss one of the foremost British composers of his generation is currently very forgotten unfairly. It is a composer of great talent and good taste, follower of the school of his illustrious predecessor Sir Edward Elgar. "A Colour Symphony" is in four movements, where each represents a color: purple, red, blue and green, where Bliss expresses his impressions of the personal connotations that each of these colors represent for him, in the booklet of the album are the meanings for each color to Bliss. Musically speaking the work it is of indisputable beauty, a score for large Orchestra, where the melodies mingle in memories of the old and rich English tradition with early 20th century modernist ideas. The Ballet Adam Zero is enjoyable from start to finish, where Bliss very intelligently used his solid knowledge of orquetación.
The direction of David Lloyd, is very clean and active, backed by a good Orchestra.
There are two magnificent compositions on this outstanding disc. The first is the Colour Symphony, Bliss took the theme of characterizing the four movements of a symphony with each expressing a colour. The first movement reflected the colour purple and bliss wanted to convey a sense of Amethyst, Pageantry, Royalty and Death. The second movement reflects the colour red. Here Bliss uses Blues and Jazz influences. The third movement is blue and Bliss uses a meloncholy and tranquel setting. Finally the fourth movement is Green. Bliss uses a march that is majestic with bi tonal trumpet interjections to convey a sense of youth and Joy. The piece comes to an impressive climax.
The second work on the disc is the ballet Adam Zero. It is an original concept concerning the birth of Adam (spring) followed by the love he has for a young girl (summer). As autumn comes he grows older and in winter he dies and the scene is set for the next cycle. This is a major and very interesting work and the composition never gets tiresome.
The whole disc is performed to perfection by the English Northern Philharmonia with David Lloyd Jones. Their perfomance is excellent. The sound recording is Digital and was made in 1995. There is well balanced and good dynamics with the sound and the whole recording is very special.