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This review is from: Stanford: Symphonies 3 and 6 (Audio CD)
I too must echo the sentiments expressed above. Stanford has received a bad press - I could say that he has been the victim of a savage one. It's well known that he was over-prolific and could write his ideas straight into full score, standing on his head, and I suppose this has created an assumption that he simply churned out masses of colourless mediocrity. His reputation has perhaps also been damaged by his vast output of finely-crafted, but often dull, church music.
My own awakening to Stanford's music has spanned forty years, necessarily so because it has only started to become more widely available over the past twenty. I remember hearing a rare performance of some of his piano music in the sixties and thinking that the criticism was well founded. But then I heard an equally rare performance of a string quartet of his, and I was spellbound by the Irishness and originality of the music - which I cannot remember now. I remember reading that Stanford, on hearing Rachmaninov's second piano concerto, came home and wrote one just like it. Yet when I heard Stanford's second piano concerto, I was amazed, not by how similar it was, but how different.
An artist should be judged by his finest work, and it seems that Stanford has too long been judged on hearsay.
There is plenty of fine work on this disc. I agree that the sixth symphony is the finer of the two (I also like the fourth). Both are characterful, colourful, finely orchestrated, and Stanford's unique voice comes through. Oh yes, Stanford has his own voice, and it's sometimes fitful, but it's there all the same.
If you like this disc, there are the other five symphonies, the second piano concerto, second violin concerto, clarinet concerto, Irish rhapsodies, Requiem, Stabat Mater, and a host of smaller things to explore. Perhaps the tide is at last turning for Stanford. I hope so.