This is a remarkable coupling of tuneful music. E. J. Moeran, who died in 1950, has a considerable following for his fine Symphony in G minor, and concertos for violin and cello. It has long been known that he left sketches for an unfinished Second Symphony, which have rivalled those of Elgar’s Third Symphony as a tantalising musical ‘might-have-been’ among British symphonic scores. Now in a remarkable parallel with Anthony Payne’s performing edition of the sketches of Elgar’s Third Symphony, conductor Martin Yates has realised and completed the sketches of Moeran’s Second Symphony to reveal a glorious work given wing by this idiomatic performing edition, brilliantly played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Yates’s baton. This is an exciting discovery, which all lovers of British music, especially of the period of Bax and Vaughan Williams, will want to hear. The themes and orchestration are Moeran at his most persuasive, and thanks to Martin Yates’s efforts we now have a completed symphonic work of art to lay beside Moeran’s G minor Symphony. It is accompanied on this CD by Moeran’s Overture for a Festival, which survives only as an undated piano score. In a work thematically linked to the G minor Symphony, this idiomatic orchestration was made by Rodney Newton for its first performance at the 1994 Norfolk and Norwich Festival, and here receives its premiere recording. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of John Ireland, The John Ireland Trust have commissioned Martin Yates to orchestrate the piano suite Sarnia: an island sequence (1940-41), which provides a charming companion to the Moeran works. In these three movements – Le Catioroc, In a May Morning and Song of the Springtides – we have, if not quite an English La Mer, certainly a distinctive and colourful score. “Ireland surely had the orchestra in mind when writing this evocative music,” remarked Martin Yates during the recording. In the finale those sparkling climaxes – at the brilliant cadenza-like culmination of the opening section and the thrilling closing bars – acquire a new dimension in their orchestral dress.
II. Allegro Vivace
Iv. Allegro Vigoroso E Poco Maestoso
I. Le Catioroc
II. In A May Morning
Iii. Song Of The Springtides
Overture For A Festival
“If this is not quite a resurrection like Anthony Payne's of Elgar's Third Symphony, it was still worth doing, and adds to our knowledge of the struggle against adversity that's enshrined in much of Moeran's output...Yates directs performances of brio and enthusiasm, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra sound as it they're revelling in every bar. The recorded sound is excellent, too.”
“It certainly makes for a fascinating and rewarding voyage of discovery, the inspiration often touchingly heartfelt (nowhere more so than in the third-movement Adagietto) and gripping in its scope of ambition. Moreover, connoisseurs will have a high old time pinning down the wealth of references to other pieces in Moeran's output.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.