From my collection.
Bought in June 2014.
First listen: 10-7-2014.
Second listen: 15-12-2014.
Third listen: 20-2-2017.
Recording dates: September 2009.
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow.
Recording engineer: Dexter Newman.
Running time: 74:15.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.
Symphony No. 3. (1940)
Prelude-"Black Mountain", opus 46. (1946)
Robert Flaherty-Impressions, opus 87. (1958)
Pictures from Dante, (after Dore). (1948)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Martin Yates.
In my opinion one of Stanley Bates best Symphonies, this war time composition pulls out so much beauty of this composer, that especially in the second movement goosebumps ripple my skin. But the first movement also has a mix of real time realism mixed with ethereal spiritual inklings, with some beautiful scoring everywhere in the music, and this is something that is a constant in the whole work, which will not leave you untouched. The third movement starts with insistent violins and brass, sort of an emergency call, take up your strength and fight. A march like tempo steers into bravery and defiance towards aggression and oppression. A mighty machinery is unleashed for it, and that is what you hear in the Presto beginning; very effectively I might add. Again the scoring is pretty awesome, that leads to a combative conclusion, with even a fugato in the bargain, and you hear the return of motives from the earlier movements, finely integrated into this last movement. The closing chords are awe inspiringly effective.
The Prelude the "Black Mountain" by Richard Arnell, is a impressive short work, a power packed energizer, with some pretty fine scoring. Impressionistic and moody opening with slow chords on the cellos and basses divisi, never heard it quite like that, but boy is that beautiful!
Robert Flaherty must have meant a lot to Arnell, for this work is one of the most beautiful compositions I heard so far from him. Effectively it's a set of Symphonic variations, and has some American influences in it, like a bit of Copland and probably Virgil Thomson, and even more, but let's leave that aside, and instead admire the music Arnell wrote. It has many moods and emotions, imagine beauty and beyond that, a almost untouchable serenity, a wealth of details, one better as the other in ever increasing steps of genius, ending with some strokes on the harp into bliss! This is awfully gorgeous!
Erik Chisholm is a different kettle of fish altogether, and his pictures from Dante, sound to me like the title music of the film Ben Hur, or Spartacus with the heroic Kirk Douglas., a clash of an orchestra in extremis, that finds only relieve at the very end of the piece in a lamenting almost wailing manner. Never heard it before, and absolutely interesting, going over in Paradiso so tranquil, and I rather like that more, although I could again relate this music to any given Hollywood film about the lives and works of Jesus Christ. That's not a criticism, but rather a pointer towards the mood and peculiar approach. His orchestration is at all times creative, and the way he handles the melodic content, too, certainly if you imagine that he uses a very large orchestra. I have to get more into this composer! Amazing a Scottish hell and heaven. Must be a turbulent place there!
The performances and recording (state of the Art) as always is superb.
Monday, February 20, 2017
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