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British Cello Concertos

British Cello Concertos


Bax:

Cello Concerto

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bryden Thomson

Bliss:

Cello Concerto

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Finzi:

Cello Concerto, Op. 40

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Moeran:

Cello Concerto

Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Norman Del Mar

Stanford:

Irish Rhapsody No. 3 for Cello and Orchestra Op. 13

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley


This two-album set features British cello concertos from Raphael Wallfisch’s best late-1980s recordings. He has always worked closely with leading British composers of our time and is now regarded as the finest performer of their works for cello. As International Record Review asserted, ‘no British cellist has done more to advocate British composers than Raphael Wallfisch... [His] playing evinces that attention to detail, tonal finesse and understated conviction which has long made him an exponent of new and unfamiliar music.’

Those works are probably among the finest of the twentieth-century British repertoire. The original recordings won enthusiastic reviews, helped by such champions of British composers as Vernon Handley, Norman Del Mar, and Bryden Thomson, here conducting top British orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and London Philharmonic.

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Chandos 241 - CHAN241-56

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Finzi: Violin & Cello Concertos

Finzi: Violin & Cello Concertos


Finzi:

Cello Concerto, Op. 40

Raphael Wallfisch (cello)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Violin Concerto

Tasmin Little (violin)

Prelude for string orchestra, Op. 25

Romance for string orchestra, Op. 11


“Keenly felt, emotional reading…performance is passionate…” BBC Music Magazine

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Chandos Classics - CHAN10425X

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An introduction to Ralph Vaughan Williams

An introduction to Ralph Vaughan Williams


Vaughan Williams:

The Lark Ascending

Michael Davis (violin)

The Wasps Overture

Fantasia on Greensleeves

Symphony No. 2 'A London Symphony'


"The performances are excellent." American Record Guide

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Chandos Intro - CHAN2028

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Moeran: Orchestral Works

Moeran: Orchestral Works


Moeran:

Violin Concerto

Lydia Mordkovitch (violin)

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Lonely Waters

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Whythorne's Shadow

Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley

Cello Concerto

Raphael Wallfisch (cello)

Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Norman Del Mar


Rec. Dorset 1986, Belfast 1990

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Chandos Classics - CHAN10168X

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Bax - The Symphonies

Bax - The Symphonies


Bax:

Symphonies Nos. 1-7

Tintagel

Rogue's Comedy Overture


A set that exudes love for the often great music on every page - a modern classic - James Jolly, Gramophone 1000th issue

“This Bax symphony cycle comes under the baton of the composer's doughtiest champion, and superlatives are in order. Even seasoned Baxians will be startled by the propulsive vigour and sinewy strength of these performances.
In its uncompromising thrust and snarling tragedy, Handley's account of the First Symphony packs an almighty punch, but also quarries great detail from Bax's darkly opulent orchestration. In the closing pages the motto theme's sanguine tread is soon snuffed out, as the shredded nerve-ends of this music are exposed as never before.
The wild and brooding Second generates less heady sensuality than either the Thomson or Myer Fredman's pioneering Lyrita version, but there's ample compensation in the chaste beauty and enviable authority of Handley's conception.
Scrupulous attention is paid to thematic unity and the many contrapuntal and harmonic felicities that bind together the progress of this extraordinary canvas. The BBC Philharmonic respond with such eager application that it's easy to forgive some slight loss of composure in the build-up to the cataclysmic pinnacle.
There can be no reservations about the Third, an interpretation that's by far the finest since Barbirolli's 1943-4 world première recording with the Hallé. Bax's iridescent textures shimmer and glow, bass lines stalk with reassuring logic and solidity, and these exemplary artists distil all the poetry and mystery in the ravishing slow movement and epilogue. Deeply moving is Handley's tender, unforced handling of the first movement's Lento moderato secondary material.
Handley's previous recording of the Fourth is comprehensively outflanked by this bracing remake. If you've ever regarded the Fourth as something of a loose-limbed interloper in the Bax canon, this will make you think again, such is the muscular rigour Handley locates in this lovable creation. At the same time, there's playful affection, rhythmic bite and pagan splendour of both outer movements.
Revelations abound, too, in the Fifth. Handley plots a superbly inevitable course through the first movement. At the start of the slow movement the glinting brilliance and sheen of the orchestral playing take the breath away, as does the richness of the lower strings in the first subject.
The finale is stunning, its whirlwind Allegro a veritable bevy of cackling demons.
The bass ostinato that launches the Sixth picks up where the epilogue of the Fifth left off. A taut course is steered through this stormy first movement, though in some ways Norman Del Mar's recording got closer still to the essence of Bax's driven inspiration. The succeeding Lento has a gentle radiance that's very affecting. However, it's in the innovatory finale where Handley pulls ahead of the competition, cannily keeping some power in reserve, and locating a transcendental wonder in the epilogue.
Handley's Seventh is wonderfully wise and characterful music-making, the first movement in particular sounding for all the world as if it was set down in a single take. There's bags of temperament about the performance, as well as an entrancing freedom, flexibility and purposefulness that proclaim an intimate knowledge of and total trust in the composer's intentions. The BBC Philharmonic respond with unflagging spirit and tremendous body of tone.
A majestic Tintagel and rollicking account of the 1936 Rogue's Comedy Overture complete the feast. Disc 5 houses an hour-long conversation about Bax the symphonist between the conductor and Andrew McGregor. Stephen Rinker's engineering does fabulous justice to Bax's imaginative and individual orchestration, particularly towards the lower end of the spectrum.
The set is magnificent; its insights copious.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Handley is in total sympathy with Bax's music and his direction is authoritative as well as idiomatic. Superb sound from the Chandos and BBC engineers. We would not be without this set.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Awards 2004

Record of the Year Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

100 Greatest Recordings

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2003

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

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Chandos - CHAN10122

(CD - 5 discs)

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Bax - Orchestral Works Volume 2

Bax - Orchestral Works Volume 2


Bax:

Spring Fire Symphony

Northern Ballad No. 2

Northern Ballad No. 3 (Prelude for a Solemn Occasion)

Symphonic Scherzo


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Chandos Classics - CHAN10155X

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Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works

Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works


Vaughan Williams:

The Poisoned Kiss Overture

Two Hymn-tune Preludes

The Running Set

Flos Campi

Suite for viola and orchestra

Sea Songs

The Wasps Overture

The House of Life: three songs

Six Studies in English Folksong

Romance for strings, piano and harmonica

Linden Lea

Fantasia on Greensleeves

Serenade to Music


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Chandos 241 - CHAN241-9

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Bax - Tone Poems Volume 2

Bax - Tone Poems Volume 2


Bax:

Northern Ballad No. 1

Northern Ballad No. 2

Northern Ballad No. 3 (Prelude for a Solemn Occasion)

Into the Twilight

The Happy Forest

Nympholept

Red Autumn

premiere recording


For Bax there were several periods of intense creativity when he committed to paper a variety of works in the form of piano scores, and orchestrated them when required. Many of the tone poems performed here were conceived in this fashion, including Red Autumn, which here receives its premiere recording. Originally a solo piano piece, it was then arranged for two pianos by Bax himself. In 2006 the Sir Arnold Bax Trust commissioned Graham Parlett to orchestrate the work in Bax’s early period style specifically for this recording. Heard in its orchestral dress it immediately reveals its family resemblance to the tone poems Nympholept and November Woods, composed round the same time.

Vernon Handley brings together for the first time three orchestral movements to which the collective title ‘Three Northern Ballads’ has been given. They date from the late 1920s and early 1930s, breathe much the same atmosphere, and Handley is keen to promote them as forming a unified, almost symphonic, whole. The first, which Bax composed and gave the name ‘Northern Ballad’ in 1927, was followed by a second Ballad, orchestrated in 1931. The third, formally entitled Prelude for a Solemn Occasion, appears to evoke a Sibelian musical landscape, and occupies the same world as the composer’s Sixth Symphony, which followed almost immediately. When Bax orchestrated the third piece he was taking his usual winter sojourn at Morar, Inverness-shire, and in a letter to a friend wrote, ‘It suggests an atmosphere of the dark north and perhaps dark happenings among the mists’. The nature painting in the work certainly calls to mind the wilds of Scotland.

Joining this quasi-symphonic work, in addition to Red Autumn, are three further early tone poems. Into the Twilight dates from Bax’s first intensive period of composition, the years immediately preceding World War I, and originated as the prelude to a planned Irish opera, Deirdre. It received only one performance during Bax’s lifetime, in 1909, conducted by Thomas Beecham. Nympholept which followed was the work in which Bax fully achieved the impressionistic technique of his first maturity. It suggests the pagan natural world in which Bax was so deeply interested. The Happy Forest, follows a pastoral short story by Herbert Farjeon, and is an Arcadian evocation much like Nympholept. It was first performed in 1923 under Eugene Goossens, its dedicatee.

“The excellent Chandos series pairing the former continues with seven richly nuanced, nimbly danced and sensitively phrased performances of [the] tone poems...The BBC Philharmonic revels in Bax's subtle instrumental variety - the nervous harp in Into the Twilight, the gurgling bass-clarinet in Nympholept that Handley summons like a snake-charmer. A sense of magic pervades much of the disc. Few conductors have found so much in Bax before, but many will in future.” The Times, 19th April 2008 ****

“Vernon Handley (still no knighthood?) returns to his exploration of the Bax tone-poems with this sumptuous, majestic collection. Is it me, or are the sounds he can draw from orchestras ever more resplendent? It is almost as though he acquires more vigour with the passing years and the result here is a disc that bristles with energy and excitement. Marvellous.” Gramophone Magazine

“Vernon Handley's revelatory Bax odyssey for Chandos comes up trumps once again with this generous feast.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2008

“Immediately the most recommendable versions in every case.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 *****

“Vernon Handley's revelatory Bax odyssey for Chandos comes up trumps once again with this generous feast spanning a quarter of a century from the enchanted Donegal glens of the youthful Into the Twilight (1908) to the rugged, wintry seascape of the Second Northern Ballad, completed in 1934. The latter is flanked by its roistering and plaintive predecessor and the darkly opulent Prelude for a Solemn Occasion (also known as Northern Ballad No 3). Whether Bax ever envisaged them as a self-contained entity is pure conjecture but, when presented with such swaggering commitment, they do comprise a deeply stirring and evocative sequence.
Elsewhere, Into the Twilight receives ideally radiant, heartfelt treatment – and you'll wait a lifetime to hear the ecstatic Nympholept better done. The Happy Forest raises the bar in its lightness of touch, iridescent glow and twinkling fun.
The gale-tossed Red Autumn (more familiar in its two-piano garb) is clad in a remarkably idiomatic new orchestration by Graham Parlett.
So, gloriously assured music-making from first measure to last, and it's a relief to be able to report that Chandos's spectacularly ample and informative sound has all the natural bloom and crucial mid-range warmth that the companion disc (above) lacked. An unmissable treat.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2008

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Chandos - CHAN10446

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Bantock: Omar Khayyám

Bantock: Omar Khayyám

Premiere recording


3 CDs for price of 2

“This first recording reflects the detail and passion of Vernon Handley's championing of Bantock's kaleidoscopic output, and Stephen Jackson ensures that the choral input is similarly lively and fresh. Toby Spence brings a bright mix of Italianate slancio and English declamation to the Poet, combining well with Catherine Wyn-Rogers's more controlled reading of the Beloved...” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

“It's a fascinating rediscovery on a huge scale, especially in the detail and depth of SACD surround-sound, seductively performed by Handley's forces, Toby Spence appropriately poetic and Catherine Wyn-Rogers sensuous.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2007 *****

“The London-born Granville Bantock used his early championship of contemporaries – Strauss, Debussy and especially Sibelius, who became a close friend and correspondent – to enrich his own Wagner-nourished sonorities and dramatic ambitions. Because he was British, he fought shy of opera, channelling his gift for theatre into song-cycles (he wrote 40), symphonic tonepoems (he once planned a 24-work cycle), forward- looking multi-media events (Apollo and theSeaman for film projection and orchestra) and oratorios (a 700-page score of Christus).
Writing in the age of Mahler's Eighth and Elgar's three major oratorios, Bantock found 101 quatrains of 12th-century Persian philosophical poetry – in the then widely read (and very free) rendering of Pre-Raphaelite poet Edward Fitzgerald – an irresistible challenge.
He set Fitzgerald's work by feeding his natural gift for effective scoring and mood illustration with his own first-hand impressions of the Mid- dle East. It is to his credit that, throughout the nearly three-hour performance span, genuine symphonic interest rarely flags. His large orchestra calls for two complete, antiphonally placed, string sections, as well as the extra wind and brass that his European heroes were deploying.
The choral part becomes virtuoso in its frequent use of unaccompanied, tricky-to-pitch passages, while three named soloists, the Beloved (mezzo), the Poet (tenor) and the Philosopher (baritone) are continually 'onstage' in roles of operatic length.
This first recording reflects the detail and passion of Vernon Handley's championing of Bantock's kaleidoscopic output, and Stephen Jackson ensures that the choral input is similarly lively and fresh. Toby Spence brings a bright mix of Italianate slancio and English declamation to the Poet, combining well with Catherine Wyn-Rogers's more controlled reading of the Beloved in substantial (and Parsifal-like) duets in Parts 1 and 3 (a highlight and a good startingpoint for samplers). Chandos's sound is suitably lush, occasionally at the expense of the chorus's diction. It's what recordings should be for, and should encourage future festival performances.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - November 2007

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - October 2007

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Chandos - CHSA50513

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The Essential Delius

The Essential Delius


Delius:

Florida Suite

North Country Sketches

Air and Dance

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

Summer night on the river

A Song before sunrise

Aquarelles (2)

Hassan: Intermezzo & Serenade

Irmelin Prelude

Late Swallows

Fennimore and Gerda: Intermezzo

The Walk to the Paradise Garden

In a Summer Garden


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Chandos 241 - CHAN241-37

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