From my collection.
Bought in 2013.
First listen: 18-9-2013.
Second listen: 13-3-2017.
CD 2 from 6.
Recording dates: 2001.
Recording venue: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, England.
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Playing time: 72:31.
Classical relevance to me: Well worth having.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox.
Frank Bridge is without a doubt a Delius with balls. He orchestrates like Rimski Korsakov, he talks like Moeran, and all this he does much better. Orchestrator pur sang I would say. Every note has something to tell, and there are never too many of them. An unerring feeling for melody and harmony, a sure touch for what will work and what not, this man is a musical wizard, and never a better place as the class act of the first item on this disc, the "Dance Rhapsody" from 1908, a virtual wonder of orchestration as there ever was, with some gorgeous writing for brass, and this surefootedness that marks all his music. You fall from one musical surprise into the other, and that keeps even pace with the insistent rhythm that underlines this magisterial work. If it comes to the surface, the music gets a totally different meaning when Bridge puts his genius over it, just listen to the tap footing "Five entráctes" from 1910, deliciously pastoral, and merry go round the next moment. The "Dance poem" from 1913 has a Tempo di valse in it, that could have been fitted in Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and he be not ashamed of that. A delightful work, with some gorgeous romanticism over it, that recalls the olden days. The "Norse Legend" from 1905-1938 started as a piece for piano, but Bridge scored it into a fine orchestral piece. The Sea, is considered one of his best works, and that you can easily understand, when the first pastoral notes fly out of your speakers. Again you can witness what a fine composer he was, depicting the sea in such a way, that you are pitch wet when the sea comes thundering in. such is the power of suggestion, believe me. The sound is state of the art, but the last piece on this disc, The Sea, is a few ticks better recorded as the rest. That has primarily to do with the fact that the balance in the brass and especially flutes is without a certain sharpness that graces the other pieces, more or less. Not that it is a great bother, but if you like it loud, you should be aware. The depth is amazing, and therefore the details aplenty.
Performance cannot be faltered.
Monday, March 13, 2017
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