Monday, March 20, 2017

Bridge, Frank. (1879-1941) Orchestral works. Volume 5 & 6.

From my collection.
Bought in 2013.
First listen: 5-3-2014.
Second listen: 20-3-2017.
Label: Chandos. 
CD 5 from 6.
Recording dates: October 2004.
Recording venue: Brangwyn Hall Swansea 
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Running time: 68:17.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.

Works.

Suite for Strings H.93. (1909-10)
The Hag, H14. (1902) for Baritone and orchestra.*
Two Songs of Robert Bridges, H65. (1905-06), for Baritone and Orchestra.*
Two intermezzi from : Threads, H151. (1921/1938)
Two old English Songs, arr. for String orchestra. H119. (1916)
Two Entr'actes (1906/1926)
Valse intermezzo a cordes, H.17. (1902) No. 2 from "Four pieces for String orchestra", assembled and arranged by Paul Hindmarsh.
Todessehnsucht H. 181. (1932-1936) Arrangement for String orchestra of "Komm, Süßer Tod", BWV 478 from Schemelli's "Musicalisches Gesang Buch".*
Sir Roger de Coverly. ( "A Christmas Dance"), H.155. (1922/1939)

Performers.

Roderick Williams, Baritone.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox.
Premiere recordings *

I have grown into a staunch admirer of this composer, for I think he has almost no equal amongst British composers. A very original voice, and a highly talented orchestrator to booth. What he writes is solid and perfectly conceived. Even the vocal works find favour with me, and you may call that unique with me! Already on the fifth disc, and again its filled with top compositions, every one of them. The Suite is a very English affair in the best tradition, it has devastatingly beautiful melodies, a piece that should belong to the performance repertoire, for it charms you in an instant. The Hag was a surprise for me, not because the Baritone sings perfectly, but listen to the orchestration! 2:25 of top Bridge. Did not expect that, and my ears are still ringing with bliss, and from this I went to the Songs of Robert Bridges, a equally well sung project, just two very sweet pastoral songs, that will have great effect on lovers alike, with a romantic inclination. The Two intermezzi are great fun, especially the Tempo di Valse movement, a merry go round, very well scored. Two Old English Songs, is more or less a Suite for string orchestra, and sweet it is. Perfect string writing. And I could say the same of the Two Entr'actes, albeit they have a somewhat robuster scoring, but carries the same loveliness. And what beauty unfolds with the Valse intermezzo a cordes, perfectly arranged by Paul Hindmarsh. You could easily score it for ballet, you can see the Prima dancing gaily.  

Todessehnsucht, is a profound statement of such beauty, that surely this must take its place in musical history. I was deeply moved by it, Bridge did a perfect job, in scoring this in such a sensitive way, That one is still with me!
Roger de Coverley is a corker, a instant liker as there ever was one. Again the scoring has me floored, something that happens on a regular basis with me, with this music.

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From my collection.
Bought in 2013.
First listen: 6-3-2014.
Second listen: 20-3-2017.
Label: Chandos.
CD 6 from 6.
Recording dates:  October 2004.
Recording venue: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Running time: 61:14.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.

Works.

1) Blow out, you Bugles*
2) Adoration *
3) Where she lies Asleep.*
4) Love went a-riding*
5) Thy hand in mine*
6) Berceuse**
7) Mantle of Blue, for high voice and orchestra.
8) Day after day**
9) Speak to me my Love**
10) Berceuse.
11) Chant d'espérance, No. 2 from Trois <Morceaux d'orchestre. Premiere recording.
12) Serenade.
13) The Pageant of London. Premiere recording, for Wind orchestra.
14) A Royal night of Variety, Epilogue for Orchestra. Premiere recording.

Performers.

Sarah Connolly, Mezzo-soprano.**
Philip Langridge, Tenor.*
Roderick Williams, Bariton.
Alban Gerhardt, Cello.
BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox.

This is very special! All my life I hated this kind of singing, especially the English style of late romantic singing, but, Bridge is the exception on the rule. First his compositions are sublime, and there must be some secret ingredient, why I like these works so much, for my rationale is awol in this case. Sure I have some criticisms too, but in the light of me liking these pieces, and my relation with vocal contributions it's only to be expected. Langridge is a fine Tenor, but, in almost all the songs he has a vibrato that is slightly too much of the good thing, and at times very obtrusive. In that respect Connolly does better, being more discreet with it, although it's there. Minor grumblings. The purely orchestral parts on this CD are prime Bridge to, and it's such a fine close of this box. Demonstration class sound, and as to the performances, the late Richard Hickox may be rightly proud on this accomplishment. I am looking forward to his last recording on Chandos, Eugene Goossens orchestral Works, Volume II. Hickox planned to record all of Goossens neglected work, and that tragically has come to an end  in a sudden death. I lament this, and the death of a excellent conductor.






Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685-1750) The Complete Works for Organ. The Isoir Edition. CD 3.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: January 2016. First listen: 20-9-2017. Label: La Dolce Volta. CD 3 from 15. Recording year: 1991. V...