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Within A Dream - A Celebration Of The Artistry Of Richard Hickox


Release Date: 10/27/2009 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10568   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Frank BridgeBenjamin BrittenRalph Vaughan WilliamsFelix Mendelssohn,   ... 
Performer:  James GilchristPamela Helen StephenRoderick WilliamsCheryl Barker,   ... 
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of WalesCity of London SinfoniaLondon Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A handsome tribute to a versatile and much-missed musician.

 
The sudden death of Richard Hickox at the age of just sixty in 2008 was a loss that was widely and sharply felt within the musical world. At the time it was evident, from the tributes paid to him, that his relationship with Chandos Records went way beyond the usual artistic and contractual links between a musician and a record company. Now Chandos has issued this handsome two-disc set to commemorate one of their most prolific artists – indeed, perhaps their most prolific artist of all.
 
There’s another and very important point to this release for it is part of the launch of the Richard Hickox Foundation and royalties from
Read more the sale of these discs will be donated by Chandos to the Foundation. The Foundation’s goals are more fully described in the quite lavish booklet accompanying these discs but among them a couple caught my eye in particular for they are goals which, if achieved, will continue two crucial strands of Hickox’s work and form the most fitting legacy possible. One goal is to encourage the performance of British music outside the UK, something that Richard Hickox did throughout his career. The other is to commission and financially support recordings of neglected music by British composers – Holst, Leighton and Stanford are mentioned. If the Foundation can achieve that – and one suspects that Chandos may be willing collaborators – then Hickox’s work will truly live on for he was a real trailblazer on disc for British music. That’s one facet of his career that’s nicely illustrated in this set.
 
Those responsible for planning this release must have had a gargantuan task for Hickox made nearly three hundred recordings for Chandos alone – and made many more for other labels as well before becoming an exclusive Chandos artist. I’m sure everyone would have their own list of recordings that could have been included. However, not the least successful aspect of the choices made is that virtually every significant artistic relationship that the conductor made during his career is represented. Thus we hear from the London Symphony Orchestra and its Chorus; from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; from Australian Opera and from the Spoleto Festival. The Royal Opera House is represented, as is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. And last, but by no means least, two ensembles that Hickox himself founded, Collegium Musicum 90 and the City of London Sinfonia, take their rightful places.
 
This is not the occasion for a conventional review. Let’s just take as read, if we may, the artistic excellence and the top quality recorded sound that’s a feature of every track on these discs. Although a few of the recordings were new to me most are ones that, over the years, I’ve either bought or reviewed. I also found that some brought back significant personal memories.
 
Two of the items recalled live performances I’d attended. I was present in Chester Cathedral when Richard Hickox gave the world première of Tavener’s powerful We Shall See Him as He Is. A few days later Hickox and the same artists gave a second performance, at the Royal Albert Hall, London, as part of the 1992 Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. Chandos recorded that second performance and an extract is included here (CD2, track 10), demonstrating not least the extraordinary singing of Patricia Rosario in one of several roles that Tavener has created for her over the years.
 
An even stronger memory is associated with the excerpt from Vaughan Williams’s Pilgrim’s Progress (CD2, track 5). I was fortunate enough to attend a semi-staged performance that Hickox and Royal Opera forces gave in Symphony Hall, Birmingham around the time that this studio recording was made. It was an unforgettable occasion with Hickox directing a marvellous performance. Gerald Finley is superb in the title role and I hope this excerpt will encourage collectors who haven’t got the complete recording to rectify that omission. Re-hearing this made me all the more cross with myself that I missed the further performances that Hickox gave in London of this Vaughan Williams masterpiece just a couple of years ago.
 
Among other highlights, we have the last section of Hickox’s superb recording of War Requiem (CD 1, track 10) and the excerpt is substantial enough to demonstrate what a wonderful trio of soloists appear on this recording and that the Chandos recorded sound is exceptionally fine even by the company’s usual high standards. There’s more Vaughan Williams in the shape of the slow movement of the ‘London’ Symphony. Hickox famously made this recording of the composer’s original version of the score and though it was intended at the time that this should be the only time RVW’s first thoughts were to be heard in the modern era the success of the recording and the interest it generated was such that further performances have been sanctioned since then. For myself I’m torn. I am glad to have the chance to hear extra music by RVW yet hearing the extended original score confirms – for me, at any rate – that he was wise to revise and tauten the score into the form we know today. Nonetheless, I salute and am grateful for the enterprise of Richard Hickox in making the original score available – and in such a fine performance.
 
Away from twentieth-century English music we can sample Hickox’s skills in the classical repertoire. The finale of Haydn’s Symphony No 102 (CD1, track 5) is sprightly and delightful. I was also pleased to find an excerpt from one of Hummel’s Masses. I bought this very disc when it first appeared and was delighted at the new discovery I made as a result. Several tracks show Richard Hickox’s abilities in the opera house and once again we see in the Menotti excerpt (CD 2, track 3), his willingness to stray from the beaten track.
 
The one regret that I have is that one of his strongest recorded achievements is not included, namely his very fine complete set of the Rubbra symphonies. However, it would have been impossible to represent Hickox’s full achievements on CD on just two discs.
 
The closing item is both poignant and appropriate: the final section of Songs of Sunset by Delius. This comes from an award-winning disc – one of many by Hickox that were recognised through awards as well as strong sales. The verses by Ernest Dowson that Delius set include the line that gives the title to this collection. It makes for a very fitting conclusion to this handsome tribute to a versatile and much-missed musician.
 
-- John Quinn, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Sea, H 100: no 1, Seascape by Frank Bridge
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910-1911; England 
Length: 7 Minutes 21 Secs. 
2.
Albert Herring, Op. 39: Come along, darling, come follow me quick! by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  James Gilchrist (Tenor), Pamela Helen Stephen (Mezzo Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 2 "London": 1st movement, Lento-Allegro risoluto by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913/1920; England 
Length: 15 Minutes 7 Secs. 
4.
Elijah, Op. 70: O rest in the Lord by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
5.
Symphony No. 102 in B flat major: 4. Finale. Presto by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
6.
Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55: 4. Lento - Allegro - Grandioso (poco largamente) by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907-1908; England 
Length: 12 Minutes 18 Secs. 
7.
Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203: O moon high up "Song to the moon" by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano), Bruce Martin (Bass), Anne-Marie Owens (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Bohemia 
Length: 8 Minutes 17 Secs. 
8.
Molly on the Shore by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
9.
Mass in D major, Op. 111: no 2, Gloria in excelsis Deo by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
10.
War Requiem, Op. 66: Libera Me - Excerpt(s) by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Roderick Elms (Organ), Heather Harper (Soprano), Philip Langridge (Tenor),
John Shirley-Quirk (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Length: 17 Minutes 58 Secs. 
11.
The Perfect Fool, Op. 39/H 150: Ballet Music by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1922; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
12.
Mass no 6 in E flat major, D 950: Credo by Franz Schubert
Performer:  James Gilchrist (Tenor), Susan Gritton (Soprano), Mark Padmore (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 44 Secs. 
13.
The Consul: To this we've come by Gian Carlo Menotti
Performer:  Susan Bullock (Soprano), Herbert Eckhoff (Baritone), Victoria Livengood (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spoleto Festival Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
14.
Symphony no 1, Op. 22: 1st movement, Allegro by Malcolm Arnold
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Length: 12 Minutes 12 Secs. 
15.
The Pilgrim's progress: The Pilgrim in Prison by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Gerald Myles (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949/1952; England 
Length: 11 Minutes 38 Secs. 
16.
Requiem Mass: Tuba mirum by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
17.
Invocation by William Lloyd Webber
Performer:  Skaila Kanga (Harp)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
18.
Songs (5) of the sea, Op. 91: no 5, The "Old Superb" by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Gerald Myles (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
19.
The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38: Part 2. Praise to His Name! - Take me away by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Arthur Davies (Tenor), Felicity Palmer (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899-1900; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
20.
We Shall See Him as He Is: Ikon 6 by John Tavener
Performer:  Patricia Rozario (Soprano), John Mark Ainsley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Welsh Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
21.
Peter Grimes, Op. 33: Grimes! "Mad Scene" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Philip Langridge (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: England (1944 - 1945). 
22.
Songs of Sunset: They are not long, the weeping and the laughter by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Sally Burgess (Mezzo Soprano), Bryn Terfel (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1907; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 

Sound Samples

The Sea: I. Seascape
Albert Herring, Op. 39: Act II: Come along, darling
Symphony No. 2, "A London Symphony": I. Lento - Allegro risoluto
Elijah, Op. 70: Part II: O Rest in the Lord
Symphony No. 102 in B flat major, Hob.I:102: IV. Finale: Presto
Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55: IV. Lento - Allegro
Rusalka, Op. 114: Act I: Mesicku na nebi hlubokem
Molly on the Shore
Mass in D major, Op. 111: Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo
War Requiem, Op. 66: Libera Me
The Perfect Fool, Op. 39: Dance of Spirits of Fire: Allegro moderato - Andante
Mass No. 6 in E flat major, D. 950: Credo: Et incarnatus est
The Consul: Act II: To this we've come
Symphony No. 1, Op. 22: I. Allegro
The Pilgrim's Progress: Act III: The Pilgrim in Prison
Messa da Requiem: Dies irae: Tuba mirum
Invocation
Songs of the Sea, Op. 91: V. The Old Superb: Allegro molto - Presto
The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38: Part II: Praise to His Name! - Take me away
We shall see him as he is: Ikon VI
Peter Grimes, Op. 33: Act III: Grimes!
Songs of Sunset: No. 8. They are not long, the weeping and the laughter
Last interview with Richard Hickox, 22 November 2008

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