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Marriner & The Academy - 20th-Century Classics [10-CD Set]


Release Date: 05/24/2011 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001553402  
Composer:  Igor StravinskyRichard StraussRichard WagnerHeinrich Baermann,   ... 
Performer:  Jack BrymerJohn OgdonJohn WilbrahamMichael Laird,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

March 2011: 50th anniversary of the first recording by Sir Neville Marriner and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields for Decca's L'Oiseau-Lyre label [Concerti grossi by Handel, Torelli and Locatelli] - the start of a very remarkable partnership that extended to other labels (most notably PHILIPS). In 1964 the first recording by Marriner and The Academy appeared on ARGO [Handel: Concerti grossi, op.3].

Over the past 50 years Marriner and The Academy have made over 300 recordings but it is the association with Decca that is so unique and has resulted in a huge catalog of recordings ranging from Baroque and Classical repertory, through to twentieth century works - many of which remain in the catalog to this day.
Read more /> From 1967-1977 a distinguished series of recordings from Marriner and The Academy of late 19th- and 20th-century repertory established themselves as classics of the gramophone. This 50th anniversary edition presents a selection of these albums in repertory that ranges from Wagner to Stravinsky, Bartók and Shostakovich.

Each CD is presented in a sleeve with a replica of the original LP cover.

R E V I E W:


This ten-disc set is billed as containing “20th Century Classics,” including such modern gems as Bizet’s Symphony in C, Wagner’s Siegfried-Idyll, the Baermann Adagio for Clarinet and Strings, Grieg’s Holdberg Suite and his Elegiac Melodies. The problem is that the “original jacket” concept, which allows the labels to charge whatever per-disc price they choose for a 37-minute CD (in the case of Stravinsky’s Capriccio and Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto with John Ogdon) conflicts with the ostensible idea behind the set. Welcome to the wacky world of major label marketing.

About half of this material has been repackaged in the even larger Neville Marriner Argo Years box, but the rest is only found here. Neither set, for some unaccountable reason, includes Marriner’s Argo Tippett and Vaughan Williams recordings, which would have fit perfectly in a 20th century collection–or at least as well as the Siegfried-Idyll. OK, enough of the complaining. It’s too easy, like shooting fish in a barrel. These performances are uniformly superb. They really set a new standard for quality of execution with a chamber orchestra in the late 1960s, when they first began appearing, and they still do, So here is what you get:

1. Stravinsky Pulcinella Suite and Apollon musagète, classic performances that perfectly illustrate the crispness and precision of Marriner’s work with the Academy (sound clip).

2. Strauss’ Metamorphosen and Wagner’s Siegried-Idyll (and the Baermann Adagio). The Wagner times in at under eighteen minutes, thank God, while the unsticky but never inexpressive Strauss offers a refreshing alternative to, say, Karajan’s or some of the more heavy-breathing interpretations.

3. Bartók: Divertimento and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta–one of the great Bartók discs, plain and simple.

4. Stravinsky Capriccio and Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1, as mentioned above, only 37 minutes but fine performances. Many of us imprinted on this version of the Stravinsky, and a delightful work it is.

5. Walton: Sonata for String Orchestra (arranged from his String Quartet) and Prokofiev’s Visions fugitives in Barshai’s clever arrangement–a rarity, this, and a joy to see on CD.

6. Bizet’s Symphony in C and Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony make perfect disc mates–at times you’d be hard pressed to tell which composer is which, a fact that only increases our admiration for the wildly precocious Bizet (sound clip).

7. For the hard core, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Hindemith’s Five Pieces for String Orchestra, and Webern’s 5 Movements, all played with stunning precision and idiomatic flair.

8. This is Marriner’s classic Barber (Adagio), Copland (Quiet City), Ives (Symphony No. 3), Cowell and Creston disc, a milestone in the American music discography, and still a reference recording for the Ives.

9. Butterworth orchestral works paired with another reference recording, this time of Britten’s Frank Bridge Variations. This makes the absence of Tippett and Vaughan Williams all the more mystifying.

10. Scandinavian (mostly) string music by Grieg (already mentioned), Sibelius (Valse triste and Rakastava), Wirén (Serenade), and Nielsen (Little Suite). What’s not to love?

As you can see (and hear) this superbly engineered set is essentially self-recommending, and a potent reminder of what made Marriner and the Academy such a force for the better part of three decades.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Pulcinella Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922/1947; France 
Date of Recording: 11/1967 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 21 Minutes 19 Secs. 
2. Apollon musagète by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 11/1967 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 28 Minutes 58 Secs. 
3. Metamorphosen for 23 solo Strings, AV 142 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1945; Germany 
4. Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; Germany 
5. Adagio for Clarinet and Strings by Heinrich Baermann
Performer:  Jack Brymer (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
6. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz 106 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Budapest, Hungary 
7. Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz 113 by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Budapest, Hungary 
8. Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928-1929; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1970 
Venue:  Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suff 
Length: 17 Minutes 7 Secs. 
9. Concerto for Piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 35 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  John Wilbraham (Trumpet), John Ogdon (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; USSR 
10. Sätze (5) for String Quartet, Op. 5 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Preglhof 
11. Symphony in C major by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; France 
12. Symphony no 1 in D major, Op. 25 "Classical" by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916-1917; Russia 
13. Verklärte Nacht for String Orchestra, Op. 4 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899/1943; Vienna, Austria 
14. Schulwerk, Op. 44: no 4, Stückes (5) for String Orchestra by Paul Hindemith
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Germany 
15. Sonata for String Orchestra by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971-1972; England 
16. Visions fugitives (20) for Piano, Op. 22 by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1917; Russia 
Notes: Arrangement: Rudolph Barshai 
17. Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Rome, Italy 
18. Symphony no 3 "The Camp Meeting" by Charles Ives
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; USA 
19. Quiet City by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Michael Laird (Trumpet), Celia Nicklin (English Horn)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
20. Hymn and Fuguing Tune no 10 for Oboe and Strings by Henry Cowell
Performer:  Celia Nicklin (Oboe)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
21. A rumor by Paul Creston
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 
22. A Shropshire Lad by George Butterworth
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; England 
23. English Idylls (2) by George Butterworth
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
24. Banks of Green Willow by George Butterworth
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
25. Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; England 
26. From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Norway 
27. Elegiac Melodies (2) for Strings, Op. 34 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Norway 
28. Kuolema: Valse triste, Op. 44 no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1904; Finland 
29. Little Suite for Strings in A minor, FS 6/Op. 1 by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888/1889; Denmark 
30. Serenade for Strings, Op. 11 by Dag Wirén
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; Sweden 
31. Rakastava, Op. 14: Suite for String Orchestra, Triangle and Timpani by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911-1912; Finland 

Sound Samples

Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 1. Sinfonia
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 2. Serenata
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 3. Scherzino
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 4. Tarantella
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 5. Toccata
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 6. Gavotta con due variazioni
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 7. Vivo
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 8a. Minuetto
Pulcinella (Concert Suite): 8b. Finale
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 1. Birth of Apollo
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 2. Variation of Apolllo (Apollo and the Muses)
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 3. Pas d'action (Apollo and the 3 Muses)
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 4. Variation of Calliope (the Alexandrine)
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 5. Variation of Polyhymnia
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 6. Variation of Terpsichore
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 7. Variation of Apollo
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 8. Pas de deux (Apollo and Terpsichore)
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 9. Coda
Apollon musagète (1947 version): 10. Apotheosis
Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings
Siegfried Idyll
Adagio for clarinet and strings in D flat (formerly attrib. Wagner)

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