Bought in 2010.
First listen: 26-6-2010.
Second listen: 3-4-2014.
Third listen: 29-5-2017.
Recording dates: December 2002.
Recording venue: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.
Recording engineer: Ralph Couzens.
Running time: 65:09.
Relevance to me: Essential.
Symphony No. 4. (Premiere recording)
The Garden of Earthly Delights. ( Premiere recording)
Alban Gerhardt, Cello.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox.
The booklet does not give much detail for us to understand what the thoughts were behind the Fourth Symphony by Lennox Berkeley, apart from the fact that it is the last one he wrote. LB has a remarkable steady hand in controlling all the melody lines. It's a multifaceted work, that covers pretty much all what makes it a worthwhile listen. Never harsh or overly insistent, but always exploring the deeper meaning of life, thus the magic floats out of his hands .I cannot tell of the myriad of beautiful details that makes this symphony so worthwhile to listen to, but for a taste of it go to track 7, and you know what I mean. The performance is inspiring, and I could not imagine hearing it ever being bettered.
MB "The Garden", is a much more experimental work, in which tonality is stretched wider, and where is little place for mysticism, so altogether it's a more rational work, that clearly does not aim to give a truly harmonious picture, but rather lets the listener in on a controlled chaos. Whether all the effects make sense or enhance the quality of the work is currently beyond me, but as a whole this composition leaves me a bit shattered in my appreciation. Almost all works I heard before from MB, were much to my liking, but about the Garden I am ambiguous. Maybe more listening time with it, makes me open more to what I hear. The performance is first rate.
The Cello concerto gets me firmly back in the appreciation mood, for it's a truly fine work, and one that connects directly to the composing style that comes from his father, but has its own distinctive voice of expression. And this inherited kinship makes me happy in musical terms. This performance is perfect in its execution. The sound on this CD is demonstration class.