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Moeran: Symphony in G Minor / Overture for A Masque / Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra
 
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Moeran: Symphony in G Minor / Overture for A Masque / Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra

1 Jan. 1988 | Format: MP3

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Song Title Artist
Time
Popularity  
30
1
13:48
30
2
13:08
30
3
5:06
30
4
14:36
30
5
9:41
30
6
17:42
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1988
  • Release Date: 1 Jan. 1988
  • Label: Chandos
  • Copyright: (C) 1988 Chandos
  • Total Length: 1:14:01
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001MVUWBI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,540 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Much English music of the 1930s is easy to dismiss as behind the times, in that it ignores the dkitats of Second Viennese School's musical equivalent of lacerations by barbed wire. (And non the worse for the omission.)
Moeran's sound world is very similar to that of Arnold Bax: lush, Celtic, and hugely influenced by Sibelius.
But his music is much more taut, more symphonic, than Bax's seven prolix works of the same genre.
In this recording, Moeran music is fortunate to get the best. Vernon Handley, as you would expect, is completely inside the music, and confirms this symphony as a neglected masterpiece.
Moeron benefits for the usual top-drawer Chandos recording.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I will start with the performance, which is as fine as you could wish from Handley and the orchestra. The sound quality is very impressive and serves the symphony very well. I will concentrate here on the symphony because as pleasant as the other works are they are not of the same stature.

The symphony carries very strong traces of Sibelius, Vaughan Williams and a little more modern bite in the Walton mode. Moeran incorporates a fair amount of folk like material both English and Irish in style.

It is a finely constructed symphony and while the influences on the work are clear, Moeran has a very distinctive musical personality. The opening allegro switches between reflective and more urgently driven passages giving a generally usettled mood. The following slow movement is the true heart of the work full of aching melancholy and solitude.

The scherzo is more chipper and breezy without being particularly cheerful. The finale that follows seems to take quite consciously elements from Sibelius' Fourth symphony and Tapiola. The animated early part does little to hide the underlying bleakness and comes to a surprising conclusion. The sense of the material petering out is very similar to the Sibelius Fourth but this time the work ends with a bang - uncompromisingly grim and strident; the stabbing finale chords are a conscious and trenchant echo of the closing bars fo Sibelius' Fifth but this time with bitterness and anger.

So whilst this symphony has much attractive and folksy material it isn't soft or easy listening. The darkness lurking beneath until the final bars is no mere poetic melancholy. Add to this a firm grip of symphonic structure and fine orchestration this symphony compares very favourably with the best Vaughan Williams symphonies and Walton's first. Lovers of English symphonic music doubtless know this work well. For those wishing to explore the best of English music it's a must.
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By S. H. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Feb. 2011
Format: Audio CD
The stature of Moeran's Symphony in G Minor is evident from the number of recordings it has received, beginning as early as 1942 with Leslie Heward's interpretation. Today we have those of Boult (Lyrita), Lloyd-Jones (Naxos) and Handley (Chandos) to choose from. Although each of these has its merits, I have decided to review the last of these because the late (and sadly missed) Vernon Handley had a reputation for interpreting the music of Moeran (as well as of Bax), and was the complete professional whose study of the scores are known to have been meticulous, leaving nothing to chance. Interestingly, Handley himself spoke very highly of the Heward recording.

Moeran, a slow developer, was unable to fulfil Sir Hamilton Harty's 1926 commission for a symphony because he felt he still lacked the necessary technique. It was 1937 before the work finally emerged, and although dedicated to Harty, it was premiered by Lesie Heward the following year. Much - perhaps too much -has been made of Moeran's "influences". Certainly, there is an Englishness suggestive of Vaughan Williams, and there are folksong inflections, although Moeran rarely quotes folksong directly. Sibelius is the one influence that is generally agreed upon; this is evident in the way in which the themes in the Symphony tend to grow (rather like Moeran's own technique, perhaps!).However, this should not be seen as detrimental in any way. Sibelius stood like a colossus over British music in the 1930s, and whatever else can be said, Moeran always retains a distinctive style.

An influence of a different kind which permeates all of Moeran's music is the British landscape - especially that of Norfolk and Kerry in the west of Ireland, both of which he knew and loved.
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Format: Audio CD
There is a general consensus of opinion that this symphony is Moeran's masterpiece. it is cogently written and holds the attention throughout. It is also expertly crafted with expertly written use of the orchestra. It stands out among Moeran's work in much the same way as the Sorcerer's Apprentice stands out in the work of Dukas. The puzzle of course is, given the evident technical skill and musical inspiration, why did lightening only strike once? Whatever the answer we will never know so we must be content with what we have.

Handley has made something of a speciality of English music and this recording can be counted as one of his many successes in that field. In this he is following in the footsteps of Adrian Boult who has also made a successful recording of this work. Boult is a little more emotionally restrained than Handley but that difference is to be expected bearing in mind their respective musical temperaments. As a result the Boult climaxes are more structural in feel whereas Handley is more excitable. Both are equally effective in their different ways.

Handley has a completely different coupling to offer with two pieces. The Rhapsody for piano is well delivered by all concerned (the pianist is Margaret Fingerhut) and that has been added to the original disc's program which was rather short on playing time. The Overture for a Masque was the short original extra item so this represents better value. In my opinion neither of the extra pieces matches the symphony for inspiration, especially the Rhapsody which fails to stick in my memory shortly after it has finished. Others may find this a stronger piece than me though. I prefer the overture.

The whole disc is well recorded with good sound and realistic balances between the instruments. This is a very tempting disc for anyone interested in the program.
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