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4.2 out of 5 stars
The British Symphonic Collection
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2012
The title might lead you to think that this is a collection of British symphonies; it's not. There are nine symphonies scattered across the ten discs, with the remainder of the music ranging from concertos and tone poems through overtures and suites to a melodrama to music by Delius. All of the discs are of interest; few of them are of the top quality as far as the music is concerned, and those few have other versions freely available (the Bax symphony, Vaughan William's Job, part of the Holst and part of the Arnold discs). Nonetheless, everything here is of interest, none of it is poor and the performances are good, as far as I can tell with unfamiliar music. Recommended to fill a gap in most collections.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2011
One of the most generous budget repackagings ever. Bostock leads the Munich Symphony on a well-chosen tour of worthy, underplayed music. Bostock demonstrates a mature and personal musicality, and the German orchestra plays most sympathetically in many of the pieces. I found their rendition of Cowen's Symphony 5 particularly diverting, but they do well in later repertoire as well, including Butterworth's Symphony 1. Bax's music, on the other hand, simply demands a bigger band; one hears the ideas of his music intelligently projected, but you can pick almost any other performance to hear a more satisfying execution. With that one caveat regarding a set of 10 CDs, I warmly recommend this astounding bargain to anyone who is interested in or merely curious about (mostly 20th-century) British music.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Featuring Douglas Bostock, a conductor who hasn't quite made it to the main stream but produces some workmanlike if not ground-breaking readings in this collection. The most absorbing pieces here are the rareties. I would single out Gregson's 'Contrasts', deftly orchestrated, with a really heartfelt slow movement, and played by a responsive RLPO; Cowen's 6th Symphony (1897), with its interesting harmonic language and a finale anticipating Elgar's symphonies, still to come in the next decade; and Holst's rather uneven Cotswolds Symphony, featuring a glorious slow movement commemorating William Morris, one of the composer's heroes. Most interesting of the more unfamiliar pieces is Elgar's piece for narrator and soprano, 'A Voice in the Desert', written in 1915 in response to the devastation of Belgium: I believe there is only one other current recording. It features an excellent narrator, but it was difficult to make out the words in the (Danish?) soloist's performance (these can be found on the internet, BTW).

In more familiar works, Bostock comes up against plenty of competition. His tempi here tend to be on the fast side, a disadvantage certainly in the Bax 6th, which has lost some of its magic as a result. The first movement was a little rushed, the wash of sound created by the celesta and evoking a Celtic twilight in the 'Epilogue' was rather recessed, and the hushed intensity of its conclusion is better caught in other versions of this work. In places the Munich Orchestra was excellent, especially at the very start of the symphony, and I particularly like the principal oboe. The other problem posed in these Munich performance was the generally warm acoustic, an excellent background for the Mahlerian slow movement of the Arnold 5th, but somewhat blunting the edges of its spikier music in the other movements.

Needless to say, this is a real bargain: these discs seem to have been available only at full price/mid-price earlier, so the collection is worthwhile, even just for the less familiar pieces. A pity there are no notes, but for this price a small matter, I think.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2013
Great value for a significant collection of British Symphonic music. I chose this CD Collection for the unknown composers such as Cowen (6th Symphony) and Coleridge-Taylor (Symphony in A minor) theses are two gems I have not heard before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2013
Whilst Edward Elgar is featured - with the inclusion of the slow movement of his 'Piano Concerto' derived from one of his famously recorded piano improvisations made around 1930, the real bonus comes elsewhere. Take the Coleridge-Taylor / Symphony's worth a listen and perhaps an inspiration for a major orchestra to produce a definitive version. There is loads to discover. The orchestras employed seem a bit understrength on some items - Holst, RVW etc but a brave effort and fantastic value for money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2013
Very nice separated box of Brit music that you may never hear without it, just because EMI ,Decca,DG,etc etc is not
Labelling , don't be put off, the sound quality is as good as most , produced in Germany aimed at the British market
The cover picture gives it away, the little "d" stands for Deutschland so when you see EUd you know it's German
The German musicians play inspiringly not skipping through as if to say "let's get back to the real music of Beethoven
Mozart etc,no, they play and do fine performances, which the pieces deserve .
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2013
The recordings were very good but I found it frustrating that they had no composer information,oterwise l was very pleased with the service.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2015
Great way to obtain so much difficult to get , interesting music . This set conducted by Douglas Bostock includes amongst other rarities the Symphony no.2 of Ruth Gipps . She sometimes used to conduct the Northern Polytechnic Modern Symphony Orchestra at the Northern Polytechnic Institute on Holloway Road . I used to drive past there everyday on the bus and always noticed the large poster above the entrance . Other regulars were Arthur Dennington who was the main conductor and Frank Shipway . Joyce Hatto`s name was up there at one point . This would have been in the very early 1970s . The Modern Symphony Orchestra was in existance from 1916 to 1979 and it figures prominently in the history and performance of modern British Music . At the price , this great collection is a no brainer .
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
While some of the works contained in this collection are obviously more interesting than others, it is generally a fine selection, and unbelievably good value at this price. For instance, the early Holst Symphony bought alone would be almost as expensive. Several friends wanted details as soon as I told them about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2014
Some wonderful performances of the byways of British music. Recordings mostly very satisfying ( although Job has no organ - shame). The low price makes it a must for anybody interested in alternatives to the mainstream English music scene.
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