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British Tone Poems, Vol. 1 / Gamba, BBC National Orchestra of Wales


Release Date: 03/17/2017 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10939  
Composer:  Frederic AustinWilliam AlwynGranville BantockIvor Gurney,   ... 
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Alongside their British Isles Overtures series, the BBC NOW and the conductor Rumon Gamba launch a project to bring often neglected symphonic poems by British composers to wider attention and fame. This first volume presents some of the most individual, yet rarely heard, British tone poems written in the early twentieth century, by composers ranging from the long-established Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Alwyn to Balfour Gardiner and Granville Bantock, giants in their time. Works include Bantock's atmospheric The Witch of Atlas, based on a poem by Shelley, Frederic Austin's symphonic rhapsody Spring, Gardiner's evocatino of summer A Berkshire Idyll, recorded here for the first time, and Gurney's mysterious A Gloucestershire Rhapsody, Read more never performed before 2010.

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REVIEW:

This is quite a nice find for lovers of British orchestral music. Spring, by the almost-forgotten Frederic Austin, consists of five fleeting glimpses of the season, not profound but immensely tuneful, and it is an all-but-unknown work. A Gloucestershire Rhapsody, by the hugely underrated Ivor Gurney, has "an elegiac quality absent in the innocent, pre-war sound worlds of even a Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more than that it seems to carry an indefinable intensity. Features fluent, enthusiastic performances by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Rumon Gamba and excellent engineering accomplished at the BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff.

– All Music Guide (James Manheim) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonic Rhapsody ("Spring") by Frederic Austin
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1907; England 
2.
Blackdown, a tone poem from the Surrey Hills, for orchestra by William Alwyn
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
3.
Tone Poem no 5 "The Witch of Atlas" by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902; England 
4.
A Gloucestershire Rhapsody by Ivor Gurney
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919-1921; England 
5.
A Berkshire Idyll by Henry Balfour Gardiner
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
6.
The Solent, impression for orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor:  Rumon Gamba
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 Not very good music, I am afraid April 12, 2018 By L. Ackerman (Washington, DC) See All My Reviews "Chandos is such a great label. In its entrepreneurship and in whatever they do, which they go all the way: in sound, performance, information, booklet, covers. Also, they have always been committed to British music since their inception, some of which came as a revelation to many. This release appeared as an interesting proposition since most of the works included here have not been recorded before. Perhaps the only one, as I can recall, is V-W 'The Solent', and not long ago. As mentioned in other reviews, the main problem is the music. I can take hours of 'pastoral mood' if its good, but this is not necessarily pastoral, nor good. The first pieces sound anonymous and not very British. To me, the only 'British' sounding ones are the Gurney and the V-W somewhat, none great works, mind you. The Gurney is a long 17- minute rhapsody with a very British sounding middle part: that 'nobilmente' that Elgar used so well, if not created! The Vaughan Williams is good, better than the rest, but V-W more mature music (this one is early) is so good, this does not reach such level. With so much good British music unraveled, I hope the initiative goes into more compelling and exciting orchestral repertoire. Of course, the Chandos production values are nonpareil, but even if I found the sound very good, it does not have the richness that Chandos gets from the New Broadcasting House in Manchester. Recordings there sound really gorgeous." Report Abuse
 Easy on the ears November 27, 2017 By P. Minault (Sherman Oaks, CA) See All My Reviews "Mighty easy on the ears, and really well played and recorded. Could go under the heading of "music for relaxation." Nothing here sounds imposing or deeply meaningful, but it's rich in pictorial value and romantic charm. I have a fairly large sample of British music from the turn of the century (19th to 20th) but found no duplication. These are little known treasures, full of pleasant surprises." Report Abuse
 English Idylls August 18, 2017 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "I'll start with the bottom line. If you love the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frederic Delius, and Gerald Finzi and want more of the same, buy this disc. The works may not be familiar, but they'll take you to that same idyllic English countryside as "The First Cuckoo of Spring" or "Egdon Heath." This first installment of Chandos' British Tone Poem series presents a collection of works that all deserve a place in the repertoire. Rumon Gamba and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales received glowing reviews for their Overtures from the British Isles releases. These performances are at the same high level. Under Gamba's direction, the orchestra's sound has a luminous sheen, ideally suited to these impressionistic works. For me, the highlight of the release was Ivor Gurney's "A Gloucestershire Rhapsody." This piece I can only describe as a pleasing amalgam of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gerald Finzi, which a charm all its own. Speaking of RVW, the album ends with his work, "The Solent." This early work is seldom performed but should be more often. This quiet, introspective music rivals RVW's similar passages in his 5th Symphony and "Pilgrim's Progress." Most of these tone poems were inspired by the English countryside, and share a certain sameness of character. Listen to this album from start to finish and you'll hear quiet, serene music with distinctively British harmonies throughout." Report Abuse
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