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Moeran: Symphony in G minor / Overture for a Masque

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Ulster Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B0000245F0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,879 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sym in g: I. Allegro
  2. Sym in g: II. Lento
  3. Sym in g: III. Vivace
  4. Sym in g: IV. Lento-Allegro Molto
  5. Ov For A Masque

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is beautiful music well played and recorded. The outer rim of the CD is slightly discoloured but this does not affect performance.

I would recommend this recording to lovers of lyrical, pastoral British music.
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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. The Overture for a Masque has been included but this was rather short value on this original issue.

The whole disc is well recorded with good sound and realistic balances between the instruments. This is a very tempting disc but purchasers should know that there is now a reduced price issue of this disc with the Piano Rhapsody added
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Format: Audio CD
Ernest John Moeran, or simply E.J. Moeran as he was generally known, was born in the country of Middlesex in 1894 of Irish descent. During the first 30 years of his life he spent time as a teacher and collected folk songs of Norfolk where his Irish father was a rector. His music has much of that quintessential English pastoral feel about it. In his 30s he began to explore his Irish roots and spent much time in Ireland in Kenmare, County Kelly, which also became an influence in his music.

This symphony was composed over the decade from 1926 to 1937. It is one of some half-dozen major works he produced - a concerto for cello and a cello sonata (both inspired by his wife, cellist Peers Coetmore), a violin concerto, a Serenade and a Sinfonietta (see my review). The symphony is dedicated to another British composer-conductor, Hamilton Harty. According to Moeran, the first movement was inspired by `the mountains and seaboard of County Kerry' and evokes lonely Celtic landscapes. The 2nd movement `was conceived around the sand dunes and marshes of East Norfolk' and reflects its rugged character. Lovers of Sibelius' music may find resonances here and in the remaining movements, particularly the fantasia-like final movement.

The symphony is a major work that should be heard more often, but Moeran is best known for his short tone poems, of which there is one on this CD. This is the Overture for a Masque, commissioned by Walter Legge, and composed in the Welsh Marches between Radnorshire and Hereford where Moeran used to love to go walking. Both works on the CD are played by the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley.

Moeran: Serenade in G, Sinfonietta / Finzi: The Fall of the Leaf, Nocturne
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 0.0 out of 5 stars 0 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dynamic and vivid 13 Jun. 2014
By Firebrand - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Of the many excellent available versions of the Moeran Symphony in G minor, Vernon Handley's with the Ulster Orchestra stands out for drama. More than others, Handley's take on this work highlights the contrasts of combative fire against ardently romantic beauty, big versus small, along with contrasts in tempo (quick, slow, very still). The energy comes in waves. The Sibelian aspects of the work are emphasized. Handley's treatment of the lyrical interludes is especially compelling.

Handley's is one of many great versions. A different but no less valid interpretation is found in Sir Adrian Boult's with the New Philharmonia. Boult's is more even-tempered and smoother than Handley's mercurial take, and it is taken at a more expansive tempo. (Handley begins the first movement somewhat quickly.) In cinematic terms, Boult's is the wider screen epic to Handley's vivid account with more zoom-ins and close-ups. David Lloyd-Jones' version with the Bournemouth is closer to Handley's, but lighter in weight, crisp and clear.

Each of these are fine interpretations (as is the 1942 classic conducted by Leslie Heward in dated mono sound), but if your preference is towards drama in this symphony, Handley's version is the one that will satisfy.

In the Overture For a Masque (a wartime piece meant to entertain the troops), Handley is truly in his element. His version is more action-packed and cinematic compared to the Boult's far more conservative take.
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful! 21 April 2014
By NP - Montreal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my introduction to the music of Moeran. Having heard the first track of this album on the radio, I bought the CD hoping the rest of the tracks would follow suit. I was not disappointed; on the contrary, this is an amazing and emotional suite of music, somewhat reminiscent of Debussy and Respighi. And beautiully rendered by the Ulster Orchestra and Maestro Vernon Handley. Bravo!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moeran Symphony in g minor 30 Aug. 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ernest John Moeran, or simply E.J. Moeran as he was generally known, was born in the country of Middlesex in 1894 of Irish descent. During the first 30 years of his life he spent time as a teacher and collected folk songs of Norfolk where his Irish father was a rector. His music has much of that quintessential English pastoral feel about it. In his 30s he began to explore his Irish roots and spent much time in Ireland in Kenmare, County Kelly, which also became an influence in his music.

This symphony was composed over the decade from 1926 to 1937. It is one of some half-dozen major works he produced - a concerto for cello and a cello sonata (both inspired by his wife, cellist Peers Coetmore), a violin concerto, a Serenade and a Sinfonietta (see my review). The symphony is dedicated to another British composer-conductor, Hamilton Harty. According to Moeran, the first movement was inspired by `the mountains and seaboard of County Kerry' and evokes lonely Celtic landscapes. The 2nd movement `was conceived around the sand dunes and marshes of East Norfolk' and reflects its rugged character. Lovers of Sibelius' music may find resonances here and in the remaining movements, particularly the fantasia-like final movement.

The symphony is a major work that should be heard more often, but Moeran is best known for his short tone poems, of which there is one on this CD. This is the Overture for a Masque, commissioned by Walter Legge, and composed in the Welsh Marches between Radnorshire and Hereford where Moeran used to love to go walking. Both works on the CD are played by the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley.

Serenade in G / Fall of a Leaf
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine disc but now available at mid-price and with more content 28 Nov. 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
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. The Overture for a Masque has been included but this was rather short value on this original issue.

The whole disc is well recorded with good sound and realistic balances between the instruments. This is a very tempting disc but purchasers should know that there is now a reduced price issue of this disc with the Piano Rhapsody added
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