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Berkeley Conducts Berkeley- Serenade, Partita, Symphony No 3


Release Date: 02/13/2007 
Label:  Lyrita   Catalog #: 226   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

With characteristic modesty Sir Lennox Berkeley once said that as a composer on the rostrum he could not bring out nuances achieved by professional conductors, but at least he could demonstrate the right tempos. He conducted his own works from time to time over the years, but he was not a regular practitioner with the baton. I well remember a performance of the Third Symphony under his direction, however, and though his gestures were a little stiff, he seemed to be very much in control of proceedings.

A certain stiffness in execution pervades all the interpretations here, but there is also an unvarnished directness and strength, a kind of rugged authenticity which uniquely and mysteriously springs from composer performances.
Read more So although one will have heard more sophisticated and subtle readings of the popular Serenade and Divertimento, Berkeley conveys in both works a sense of 'this is what the music is, and this is how it is played', and in very convincing fashion. The later Partita seems to me a less attractive and effective work, even after three hearings, but it was shrewd of Berkeley to include the Canzonetta from his Sinfonia concertante, since it contains a delicious melody which should be the signature tune of a popular television series if it hasn't been already.

As we now know, the Berkeley/Britten collaboration in putting together the suite of Catalan folk-tunes which make up Mont Juic was a simple division of labour, for Berkeley composed the first two movements and Britten wrote the last two. Britten himself did not record any portion of the work, so Berkeley's performance is in a way the nearest we can get to an authentic composer interpretation. The short, concentrated, one movement Third Symphony is by far the most serious work played here, and is a very impressive composition indeed. Berkeley's tough, rugged performance does it full justice.

The 1970s recordings have been quite well transferred to digital, but the string sound occasionally becomes a little edgy.

Gramophone [3/1993]
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Works on This Recording

1. Mont Juic Suite, Op. 9 "Catalan Dances" by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; England 
2. Serenade for Strings, Op. 12 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
3. Divertimento in B flat major, Op. 18 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; England 
4. Partita, Op. 66 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
5. Canzonetta by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
6. Symphony no 3, Op. 74 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Sir Lennox Berkeley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; England 

Featured Sound Samples

Mont Juic Suite "Catalan Dances": I. Andante maestoso
Serenade for Strings: I. Vivace

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