George Lloyd composed one of the most impressive and appealing symphonic cycles of the 20th century, and it was his great good fortune to partner with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and Albany Records in the last years of his life, a relationship that produced the eleventh and culminating work in the series. There was one more symphony yet to come, the valedictory Twelfth, also written for these forces, but anyone familiar with this composer will agreeRead more that this, his biggest, boldest statement, is the work that best sums up his achievement. I take great pleasure in welcoming back this reissue, nicely repackaged with excellent notes, magnificently performed under the composer's own baton, and sounding better than ever in discreet multichannel SACD format.
Written in a shapely, five-movement arch form (like the Fifth Symphony, the U.S. premiere of which I was fortunate enough to arrange and in which I played), the Eleventh is simply chock-full of memorable tunes, arresting gestures, and brilliant orchestration. The idiom is unashamedly romantic in its grandeur and sweep, and in its concentration on the expression of human emotion.
All of Lloyd's music has great surface appeal, and this often conceals its intelligent organization and shrewd planning. Here it all climaxes in an exultant (the composer's word) finale that offers a triumphant apotheosis unmatched not only in Lloyd's work, but in just about everyone else's. Despite the Hollywood ending, with plenty of celebratory crashing and bashing from cymbals and tam-tam, the composer manages to keep everything sounding fresh, a credit to the quality of his melodic invention. Lloyd's gestures never lack substance, and the three inner movements offer plenty of opportunities for heartfelt intimacy as well.
Lloyd is still awaiting the attention that his music deserves. In the mid-20th century he was ignored because his style was seen as regressive and out of date. Now, with composers flocking back to tonality in droves, he's in danger of getting lost in the shuffle, of having won the battle only to lose the war. As you can hear for yourself, his music surely deserves to endure. Thank heaven for recordings, and for the enterprise and expertise of the Albany Symphony (and label) for keeping the flame burning. If you missed this disc the first time around, don't by any means pass up the opportunity to get to know this powerful, passionate, terrific symphony.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 11by George Lloyd
Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1985; England Length: 58 Minutes 23 Secs.
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Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Majestic Late 20th Century SymphonyMarch 3, 2013By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"George Lloyd was a Welshman whose musical career never really achieved 'rock star' status in England, possibly due to his traditional approach to composing in the post-WW2 era, when the avant-garde style had such an impact on the classical music world. Regardless, Lloyd produced very pleasant, accessible, and often majestic symphonic works, and his penultimate Symphony #11 fully illustrates this. Albany Records has recorded a number of works by George Lloyd, and the composer himself personally conducted the Albany Symphony Orchestra in this re-mastered hybrid SACD recording, dating from 1986. Spanning nearly a full hour, Symphony #11's two outer movements are lengthy and poweful bookends enclosing the three inner and more introspective movements. Albany's sonic qualities are first rate, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra delivers a magnificent, razor-sharp performance under the composer's direction. Ths disk is an impressive testament to an undeservedly obscure modern composer. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone ready to sample new repertoire."Report Abuse