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Bush: Yorick Overture, Etc / Vernon Handley, Et Al

Release Date: 03/13/2007 
Label:  Lyrita   Catalog #: 252   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Geoffrey Bush
Conductor:  Vernon HandleyBarry WordsworthNicholas Braithwaite
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraNew Philharmonia OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Most enjoyable, and with a new recording of the Guildford Symphony added to the other reissued pieces, this generously filled disc arrives in the nick of time before Geoffrey Bush’s seventy-fifth birthday year gives way to his seventy-sixth. His style is ‘traditional’, yet not overindebted to any predecessor; certainly not, at least in the orchestral music, to his teacher John Ireland. There is an audible affinity, at times, with Walton in his exuberant vein, once or twice with Constant Lambert (the slow movement of the First Symphony, a lament for Bush’s boyhood hero, gracefully quotes him). Bush’s individuality lies in his sound, which is colourful, rarely lush, sometimes agreeably brusque and brassy (he loves fanfares and sonorous Read more major-key climaxes). This astringency of colour adds zest to his always fluent, generous flow of melody.

His ingenious use of form is personal, too, and when he decides to cast the first movement of the First Symphony as a rondo it is not long before you realize that he has the resource and the dramatic flair to make such a repetitive form eventful. The Second Symphony manages to be a single, extended sonata-form movement and a more or less conventional four-movement symphony at the same time. Yet even when you know (the composer tells you so in advance) that the finale is going to repeat all three themes of the introduction in reverse order, you are sure long before you get there that they will be presented in satisfying new lights. On the way you realize that the same themes, no less ingeniously transformed, have formed the basis of the lyrical slow movement, the nimble scherzo and both its contrasting trios.

There is also what one might call a ‘light music side’ to Geoffrey Bush, exemplified by the cheerful overture Yorick (though with an elegy at its centre) which he wrote in memory of the comedian Tommy Handley. He has the shrewdness not to suppress this aspect of his musical personality when writing symphonies, just as when writing for children in the Music for Orchestra he refuses to patronize them. His is immensely likeable music, and any orchestra programming these pieces would receive gratitude as well as applause. All four orchestras here seem to enjoy themselves a good deal. The reissued recordings sound a little on the thin side, but they have ample colour and impact.

-- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [3/1996]
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Works on This Recording

Yorick Overture by Geoffrey Bush
Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Barry Wordsworth,  Nicholas Braithwaite
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949 
Date of Recording: 1972-82 
Music for Orchestra by Geoffrey Bush
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967 
Date of Recording: 1972-82 
Symphony no 1 by Geoffrey Bush
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954 
Date of Recording: 1972-82 
Symphony no 2 "The Guildford" by Geoffrey Bush
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957 

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