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Mathias: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Mathias, Bbc Welsh So


Release Date: 12/02/1992 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 5260   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Mathias
Conductor:  William Mathias
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Welsh Symphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"The Welsh composer wrote three half hour symphonies of which the First Symphony launches the trilogy in an outburst of effervescence and exuberance. It was a commission from the Llandaff Festival and was premiered by the CBSO conducted by Hugo Rignold in the year in which the same forces recorded the John Blow Meditation and Music for Strings for Lyrita.

The composer's description of the First Symphony is apt: a work of energy, colour and affirmation. Here is positively blazes and rocks with a sanguine power which momentarily recalls Tippett's propulsive Second Symphony, William Schuman's Third Symphony finale and the thrawn and rowdy bustle of the Easter Fair of Stravinsky's Petrushka. Earlier movements show the
Read more lavishly stocked and brooding influence of Bax.

The Second Symphony might easily be dubbed 'The Mystical' or, given the Welsh DNA of the piece, 'The Druidic' or 'Taliesin'. Mathias was always something of a magus when it came to the orchestra and had a facility for rapidly grasping of atmosphere. The three movements glimmer and shimmer with the essence of Summer. This is expressed through the easy-wheeling progress of the stars in a summer sky in the middle movement. This process rises majestically from ease to effort in an antiphonal crest of brass fanfaring at 4:49 onwards (tr. 3). The all-conquering onrush of summer is expressed through the finale the score for which carries the superscription: "My ark sings in the sun / At God speeded summer's end / And the flood flowers on." Throughout Mathias's orchestration rings, chimes and peals through a world often noticeably indebted to the Bax symphonies.

When [Nimbus] launched this [William Mathias] series it may have seemed a left-field choice but the results repay the listener in bell-haunted spells, enchanted coinage and sturdy Celtic magic."

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1, Op. 31 by William Mathias
Conductor:  William Mathias
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Welsh Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; Wales, UK 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Great Hall, Univ of Birmingham, England 
Length: 31 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2. Symphony no 2, Op. 90 "Summer Music" by William Mathias
Conductor:  William Mathias
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Welsh Symphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; Wales, UK 
Date of Recording: 03/1990 
Venue:  Great Hall, Univ of Birmingham, England 
Length: 28 Minutes 17 Secs. 

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