WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

The Berkeley Edition Vol 2 - Lennox And Michael Berkeley


Release Date: 01/21/2003 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10022   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Lennox BerkeleyMichael Berkeley
Performer:  Nicholas Daniel
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

In Volume 1 of this enterprising series, I expressed concern over the disparity in style between the music of father and son which could alienate some listeners, but here that issue hardly appears relevant. Regarding performing forces and stylistic parameters, Lennox Berkeley's Third Symphony and Sinfonia Concertante, late works both, sound perfectly in step with his son's Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra and Secret Garden, and all four works receive committed performances captured in terrific sound.


Lennox Berkeley's Third Symphony, a tightly woven piece in one movement lasting less than 14 minutes, supposedly incorporates 12-tone elements, but its chromatic harmony and buoyant rhythms recall Honegger as much as
Read more the Second Viennese School, while the scoring has a transparency and directness (note the skillful use of the harp) that bespeaks the hand of a master craftsman. It's not "easy listening", and neither is the five-movement Sinfonia Concertante, with its expertly written oboe line and colorful contributions from the piano--but it doesn't take long for both pieces to reveal music of considerable dramatic point and expressive intensity. Spiky but characterful perhaps best describes the two works.


The same adjectives apply to Michael Berkeley's two contributions to this particular family affair. His Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra probably will strike you as the finest and most original work on the disc, and with good reason. Its structure is unconventional: a scherzo framed by two large slower movements. The opening Moderato has its turbulent moments, but the conclusion is a transfiguring Elegy to the memory of the composer's godfather, Benjamin Britten, and it achieves an achingly luminous beauty totally devoid of cheapness or cliché. Obviously a labor of love in the composition, oboist Nicholas Daniel, Hickox, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales relish the music's special emotional qualities and convey them with touching sincerity.


Secret Garden, a festive tone poem, opens with brilliant fanfares and tam-tam crashes, then works its way through a series of highly contrasting episodes to a jubilant conclusion that in turn recalls the work's opening. If you care about fine music of the modern British School, then you will want this disc as a matter of course, and it's worth having solely for Michael Berkeley's Oboe Concerto. Certainly both concertante works give a big boost in quality to a medium not exactly overflowing with masterpieces, and on that count alone this release qualifies as a significant musical event.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 3, Op. 74 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; England 
Date of Recording: 10/2001 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 13 Minutes 48 Secs. 
2.
Sinfonia concertante for Oboe, Op. 84 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Nicholas Daniel (Oboe)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; England 
Date of Recording: 10/2001 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 22 Minutes 33 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Oboe by Michael Berkeley
Performer:  Nicholas Daniel (Oboe)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; England 
Date of Recording: 10/2001 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 27 Minutes 7 Secs. 
4.
Secret Garden by Michael Berkeley
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; England 
Date of Recording: 10/2001 
Venue:  Brangwyn Hall, Swansea 
Length: 14 Minutes 16 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 3, Op. 74: Allegretto moderato - Un poco meno vivo - Tempo I - Piu lento -
Symphony No. 3, Op. 74: Lento -
Symphony No. 3, Op. 74: Allegro
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 84: I. Lento
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 84: II. Allegro vivace - Meno vivo - Tempo I - Un poco meno vivo
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 84: III. Aria: Adagio
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 84: IV. Canzonetta: Andantino
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 84: V. Allegro - Meno vivo - Tempo I - Meno vivo - Tempo I
Oboe Concerto: I. Moderato - Poco piu mosso - Meno mosso
Oboe Concerto: II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Oboe Concerto: III. Elegy: In memoriam Benjamin Britten: Andantino
Secret Garden

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In