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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER FIVE STAR HELPING OF FOULDS, 26 Jun 2006
This review is from: John Foulds: Dynamic Triptych (Piano Concerto), Music Pictures, April - England, Song of Ram Dass, Keltic Suite (Audio CD)
I was delighted to discover the music of John Foulds, the now almost forgotten English composer, through the CBSO and Sakari Oramo's first disc of his music which was released on Warner Classics in 2004. Foulds (1880-1939)was, like Holst, fascinated by Indian music and, like his other contemporary Vaughan Williams, by modal music. Combine this with his use of whole-tone scales (a la Debussy) and quarter tones and you get an idea of what a rich musical brew he cooks up in his works. They are colourful, dramatic and full of energy. This is romantic music but with a cutting edge due to that unsual musical pallette he uses. The "Dynamic Triptych" is a piano concerto that crackles with energy. The first movement sounds a little like Prokofiev with its pounding rhythms and whirling dervish final movement. The lyrical middle movement has one of Foulds' musical thumbprints - the use of a quarter tone scale that makes the music sound like an old fashioned gramophone slowly winding down. A weird effect the first time you hear it! "The Song of Ram Dass" is a glittering orchestral miniature using exotic eastern sounds which so fascinated Foulds and which, indirectly, cost him his life: he died of cholera in India where he went to work for Indian radio. "April England" was one of the few works by Foulds that were performed in his own lifetime. It's a real dazzler: the musial equivalent of one of those speeded-up BBC nature films where a whole season is shown in just a minute: where flowers bud and burst into flower and then germinate and shed their petals as we watch. Like Dylan Thomas's "The Force that through the green fuse drives the flower" Foulds' captures the endless energy of creative nature. The whole disc is brilliantly played and the engineering captures the large warm acoustic of Birmingham's Symphony Hall. Another musical triumph - do try to listen to it. Or better still take a chance and buy it (and the first CBSO / Foulds disc) you won't be disappointed.
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Location: Birmingham, England

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