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Bliss: Meditations On A Theme By John Blow, Metamorphic Variations / Lloyd-Jones

Bliss / Bmso / Lloyd-jones
Release Date: 05/25/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572316   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss
Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Arthur Bliss is a hard composer to place. He maintained a very high standard of craftsmanship throughout his long career (he died at 84 in 1975, and wrote music for more than half a century), but his idiom was more "20th-century tonal English" than overtly personal. He became Master of the Queen's Musick, a position difficult for non-British listeners to take seriously, but evidently he enjoyed the job. There is, in fact, a certain heraldic quality to his writing, most evident in A Color Symphony, and there's an aristocratic fastidiousness that's quite evident in the two pieces on this disc, even when they rise to passionate climaxes.

The Meditations on a Theme by John Blow may well be Bliss' orchestral masterpiece.
Read more It's a gravely beautiful piece, well-contrasted, frequently touching, and unforgettably scored. The actual tune doesn't appear in full until the end, when it emerges with unforced majesty as the inevitable culmination of the half-hour's prior journey. Metamorphic Variations, a very late piece written just a couple of years before Bliss' death, is a touch less richly colored, and it takes a while to warm up; but the work's latter half (the sequence running, in order, Polonaise, Funeral Procession, Cool Interlude, Scherzo II, Duet) is marvelous, and the gently affirmative ending is unaffectedly poetic.

David Lloyd-Jones has made several fine Bliss recordings for Naxos, and this is another. The Bournemouth Symphony plays beautifully throughout and is very well recorded. Indeed, Naxos' Bliss series represents one of the label's more noteworthy efforts on behalf of any British composer--but is anyone noticing? This series remains somewhat "under the radar", but it surely deserves the attention of all serious collectors.

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

1.
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, F 118 by Sir Arthur Bliss
Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
2.
Metamorphic Variations, F 122 by Sir Arthur Bliss
Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; England 

Sound Samples

Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Introduction: The Lord is my Shepherd - I will fear no evil
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Meditation I: He leadeth me beside the still waters
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Meditation II: Thy rod and staff they comfort me
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Meditation III: Lambs
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Meditation IV: He restoreth my soul
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Meditation V: In green pastures
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Interlude: Through the valley of the shadow of death
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow: Finale: In the house of the Lord
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 1: Elements
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 2: Ballet
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 3: Assertion
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 4: Speculation
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 5: Interjections
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 6: Scherzo I
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 7: Contemplation
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 8: Polonaise
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 9: Funeral Processions
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 10: Cool Interlude
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 11: Scherzo II
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 12: Duet
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 13: Dedicated to G.D. and A.D.
Metamorphic Variations: Variation 14: Affirmation

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Very Pleasing Choice March 13, 2014 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "I am trying to establish a reasonably representative collection of British music. The name Arthur Bliss was familiar, but I could not attach it to anything musical. The extensive notes offered by the reviewer here convinced me to buy. As always, one has to live with a recording awhile to fully appreciate the value. A fine orchestra!" Report Abuse
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