BAINTON: Symphony No. 2 in D minor. GOUGH: Serenade for Small
Orchestra. CLIFFORD: Sympmuy 1040
ANDRIS NELSONS - CITY OF BIRMINGHAM ORCHESTRA
VILLA LOBOS: Concerto for Guitar an Small Orchestra. Sexteto
Múistico. Concerto for Harmonica. Quinteto Instrumental.
About two decades ago, Chandos issued an important disk of world premiere recordings of music by three neglected composers. All three have close ties to Australia and England and were important in promoting music by Australian composers. Edgar Leslie Bainton was born in Great Britain February 14, 1880 (he died in Australia – December 8 1956). He is best known for his choral and liturgical music.He is remembered today mainly for his choral liturgical music particularly the anthem And I saw a new heaven,. He wrote several large-scale works including Concerto Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra as well as three symphonies and a fourth entitledPhantasy of Life and Progress, which unfortunately has been lost. His Symphony No. 2 was written 1939-1940 and had its premiere in Sydney in 1941. Originally conceived as a tone poem inspired by Swinbourn's poem Thalassa, the symphony has four movements, the second a scherzo described as "grotesque, whimsical, ironic and freakish." second movement incorporates the song of a unidentified Australian bird. The 28-minute work is in one movement but has 12 brief varied sections. It has a very British sound, and British ends in march fashion with many brass flourishes.
This site recently praised the SACD release of light music of Hubert Clifford (REVIEW). On the new Chandos CD as hear the composer in a more serious mood, his 1940 Symphony. Clifford describes the first of the four movements as "epic," and indeed it is of noble satiric often showing influence of Walton. The second movement is a scherzo described as "grotesque, whimsical, ironic and freakish". The comparatively placid Adagio third movement is the longest (15:43), and in the heroic final movement "oppression is overcome." The disk is completed with a miniature by John Gouch (1903 - 1951) who also worked in both Australia and England and was particularly active with the BBC. He was a close friend of Hubert Clifford, and composed his brief (2:14) Serenade for Small Orchestra for Clifford's wedding in 1931. All of this music is superbly played by the excellent BBC Philharmonic under Vernon Handley's spirited direction. Excellent audio. An important issue!
Naxos continues their important Villa-Lobos series with this important disk of concertos and chamber works. The Guitar Concerto composed in 1851 for Andres Sehgovia is given a vital reading by Manuel BBarrueco; the less-familiar Harmonica Concerto is one of the composer's later works (1955), seldom recorded. The two chamber works are equally unfamiliar. All of this vibrant music is performed to perfetion by the first-class São Paulo Orhestra direted by Giancarlo Guerrero. This is an important addition to the Naxos Villa-Lobos series that already includes many reordings by the aSão Paulo Symphony Orchestrapraised on this site: Symphonies 8, 9. and 11 (REVIEW). and a coupling of Symphony No. 12, Uiraperu, md Mandu-Carará (REVIEW). Thank you, Naxos!
R.E.B. (November 2019)