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Alan Bush Africa Piano Concerto & Symphony no.2

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: £10.99
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Vocalion/Dutton Epoch Direct (Crazygreen8).

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Label: Dutton Epoch
  • ASIN: B00GY3W4GU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 317,091 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Alan Bush Africa Piano Concerto & Symphony no.2 Africa - Symphonic Movement for Piano and Orchestra op.73 (1972)* PD Symphony No.2 The Nottingham Symphony op.33 (1949) Fantasia on Soviet Themes op.24 (1942)* PD Peter Donohoe (piano) Royal Scottish National Orchestra Martin Yates (conductor) * World premiere recordings Recorded at RSNO Centre, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 12-13 August 2013 CDLX 7306

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Format: Audio CD
I was first aware of the quality of Alan Bush's music after listening to an old ClassicO CD featuring symphonies 1 and 2 conducted by Douglas Bostock with the RNCM SO. I especially enjoyed the Symphony No. 2 'Nottingham' ([949) and here it is again, in an excellent performance with Martin Yates conducting the RSNO. This is a more modern recording and the performance has, to my ears, a greater sense of urgency than in the earlier recording. The Symphony No. 2 is an immediately approachable and uplifting work containing memorable thematic material, with an especially inspiriting final section, which I find extremely captivating. Perhaps the fact that it is entitled 'Nottingham' and that all the movements are named after places (such as Sherwood Forest) has given it a rather parochial association, which has done this fine symphony no favours. Bush's membership of the communist party probably didn't help either. The symphony could have had wide appeal and now that there are two fine performances available hopefully it's reputation will grow. The reason I have given it four, rather than five stars is because the lovely pealing bells at the end of the work are inaudible (on my equipment at least) in the new Dutton recording, whereas they are very clearly delineated on the older ClassicO version. For me this is the chief drawback of the new version. As for the couplings, I enjoyed the piano concerto 'Africa', although it did not sound very African to me. It should however appeal to admirers of Prokofiev. My attention was held throughout the dramatic work. I am, however, unlikely to return to the wartime 'Fantasia on Soviet Themes', which is rather facile, light music. However, this is generally a very enjoyable disc, which should generate much pleasure.
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