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Rubbra: Complete Symphonies / Hickox, Bbc National Orchestra


Release Date: 09/25/2001 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 9944   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edmund Rubbra
Performer:  Lynne DawsonDella JonesStephen Roberts
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of WalesBBC Chorus
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 5 Hours 27 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

However listenable they may be, Rubbra's early symphonies--up through No. 4--suffer from the typical post-classical-era "finale problem". Relentlessly contrapuntal in style, a bit humorless, often densely and somewhat colorlessly orchestrated yet full of fine music, no one so far, neither Richard Hickox nor his various predecessors on Lyrita, has completely succeeded in making the case for them as a whole. The exception is the Second Symphony, a finely balanced work that Adrian Boult first championed, and one that gives Hickox and his band a chance to shine as well. However, starting with the warmly genial Symphony No. 5 (first recorded by Barbirolli in the early 1950s in an excellent performance recently reissued by EMI), it's Read more pretty smooth sailing--save for the garrulous, choral No. 9, which is definitely an acquired taste.

In general, the more interesting the musical textures the more successful Hickox's interpretations become, and so he does Nos. 5-11 quite well. In No. 6, for example, his rhythmic freshness clearly scores over previous recordings, the opening allegro revealing its strong connection to the first movement of Sibelius' Third. If there are problems, they lie with some occasionally less-than-alluring string playing from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (partly a function of Rubbra's excessive reliance on them) rather than with Hickox's shaping of this or that movement, though now that Lyrita has gone and the collector has few options, I wouldn't make too much of this. Chandos' engineers have wisely avoided bathing the orchestra in an excess of resonance, and present the music with admirable clarity. This set represents a fine achievement in support of a worthy cause, and it makes sense for Chandos to gather the cycle together in a box. If you enjoy one, you'll want them all. [9/23/2001]

--David Hurwit
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 9, Op. 140 "Sinfonia sacra" by Edmund Rubbra
Performer:  Lynne Dawson (Soprano), Della Jones (Alto), Stephen Roberts (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales,  BBC Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971-1972; England 
Date of Recording: 11/13/1995 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 43 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 2, Op. 45 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; England 
Date of Recording: 01/1996 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 34 Minutes 6 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 3, Op. 49 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1997 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 34 Minutes 51 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 4, Op. 53 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; England 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 28 Minutes 11 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 6, Op. 80 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; England 
Date of Recording: 01/1996 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 33 Minutes 20 Secs. 
6.
Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 88 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; England 
Date of Recording: 11/1997 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 35 Minutes 46 Secs. 
7.
Symphony no 8, Op. 132 "Hommage à Teilhard de Chardin" by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966-1968; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1998 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 24 Minutes 21 Secs. 
8.
Symphony no 1, Op. 44 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935-1937; England 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 34 Minutes 36 Secs. 
9.
Symphony no 10, Op. 145 "Sinfonia da camera" by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1994 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 14 Minutes 56 Secs. 
10.
Symphony no 11, Op. 153 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978-1979; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1994 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 14 Minutes 59 Secs. 
11.
Symphony no 5 in in Bb, Op. 63 by Edmund Rubbra
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947-1948; England 
Date of Recording: 02/1998 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales 
Length: 26 Minutes 43 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1, Op. 44: I. Allegro moderato e tempestoso
Symphony No. 1, Op. 44: II. Perigourdine: Allegro bucolico e giocoso
Symphony No. 1, Op. 44: III. Lento
Symphony No. 2, Op. 45: I. Lento rubato -
Symphony No. 2, Op. 45: II. Scherzo: Vivace assai
Symphony No. 2, Op. 45: III. Adagio tranquillo
Symphony No. 2, Op. 45: IV. Rondo: Allegretto amabile - Coda: Presto
Symphony No. 3, Op. 49: I. Moderato
Symphony No. 3, Op. 49: II. Allegro
Symphony No. 3, Op. 49: III. Molto adagio ma liberamente
Symphony No. 3, Op. 49: IV. Tema con 7 variazioni e una fuga
Symphony No. 4, Op. 53: I. Con moto
Symphony No. 4, Op. 53: II. Intermezzo: Allegretto gracioso
Symphony No. 4, Op. 53: III. Introduzione: Grave e molto calmo -
Symphony No. 4, Op. 53: III. Allegro maestoso

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