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Bantock: Orchestral Music


Release Date: 10/09/2007 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 44281  
Composer:  Granville Bantock
Performer:  Susan BickleyJulian Lloyd WebberElizabeth ConnellKim Begley
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic Chorus
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Susan Bickley; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley. Hyperion CDA66899 [Review of Sappho, one of the works in this set plus with Sapphic Poem for cello and orchestra]

Composed between 1900 and 1907, Sappho is a cycle of nine songs for mezzo soprano and orchestra with a vivid symphonic prologue. One could describe the score as a celebration of eros, by turns radiant and gloomy, that never quite subverts the cozy decorum of the Edwardian parlor – or, if one prefers, as a celebration of the added-sixth chord. Bantock’s musical language owes a lot to the second acts of Tristan and Parsifal, has points of contact with early Scriabin, Strauss, and Puccini, and every now and then hints at Rimsky’s oriental splendor. But the
Read more cycle as a whole is tightly crafted, and the individual songs are set like gems. Bantock knew his stuff.

It’s hard to imagine the music receiving a finer performance than it gets here. A large share of the credit goes to Handley, a superb conductor all but unknown in this country and sadly underappreciated in his own, who coaxes radiant work from the Royal Philharmonic and partners mezzo Susan Bickley with exquisite aplomb. Bickley, who might just become the next Janet Baker, holds up her end heroically, delivering the taxing solo part with compelling expressiveness. Her voice sounds a little overmiked, carrying over Bantock’s heaving textures in a way that would never happen in the concert hall; aside from that, Hyperion’s sonics are spectacular. The RPO’s seating is crystal clear: violins split left and right, cellos inside the firsts and violas inside the seconds, basses on the far right, winds center, horns and harp back left, and heavy brass and percussion – including a stunningly well registered bass drum – back right. Solo instruments are beautifully imaged, and the string, wind, and brass tone is glorious. Kudos to engineer Tony Faulkner.

The filler, Bantock’s lightly scored Sapphic Poem for cello and orchestra, fails to make much of an impression – though whether the fault lies with the composer, or the anemic playing of soloist Julian Lloyd Webber, is hard to say. – Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection, reviewing Sappho, one of the works in this box set from a previous issue. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Celtic Symphony by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; England 
2.
Tone Poem no 5 "The Witch of Atlas" by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902; England 
3.
Sea Reivers by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; England 
4.
Hebridean Symphony by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; England 
5.
Pagan Symphony by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; England 
6.
Fifine at the Fair by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
7.
Heroic Ballads (2): no 1, Cuchullin's Lament by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; England 
8.
Heroic Ballads (2): no 2, Kishmul's Gallery by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; England 
9.
Symphony no 3 "The Cyprian Goddess" by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938/1939; England 
10.
Variations for Orchestra on the theme HFB "Helena Variations" by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; England 
11.
Dante and Beatrice by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901/1910; England 
12.
Sappho by Granville Bantock
Performer:  Susan Bickley (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; England 
13.
Sapphic Poem by Granville Bantock
Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber (Cello)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; England 
14.
Caristiona "Hebridean Seascape" by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; England 
15.
Overture to a Greek Tragedy by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; England 
16.
Pierrot of the Minute by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; England 
17.
The Song of Songs: The Second Day by Granville Bantock
Performer:  Elizabeth Connell (Soprano), Kim Begley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1922; England 
18.
The Song of Songs: The Third Day by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1922; England 
19.
The Song of Songs: The Fifth Day by Granville Bantock
Performer:  Elizabeth Connell (Soprano), Kim Begley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1922; England 
20.
Christus: no 6, The Wilderness and the solitary pace by Granville Bantock
Performer:  Elizabeth Connell (Soprano)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; England 
21.
Omar Khayyám: Camel Caravan by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1909; England 
22.
Tone Poem no 1 "Thalaba the Destroyer" by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; England 

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