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This final volume of the Naxos cycle of the complete Stanford Symphonies features the substantial First Symphony, whose first movement, with its spacious introduction and exposition repeat, is a remarkably broad structure. The use of stopped horns is most unusual for a symphony written in the late 1870s.
Stanford’s tuneful late romantic Clarinet Concerto has become the most frequently heard and recorded of the composer’s orchestral works.
Charles Villiers Stanford: Symphony No. 1 in B flat major
I. Larghetto - Allegro vivace
II. Scherzo: In Landler tempo - Trio 1: Presto - Trio 2: (Poco piu lento)
III. Andante tranquillo
IV. Finale: Allegro molto
Charles Villiers Stanford: Clarinet Concerto in A minor, Op. 80
I. Allegro moderato
II. Adante con moto, ma piu tranquillo
III. Allegro moderato
“…a valuable contribution to the continuing Stanford revival.”
“This is the final recording in the Naxos series of Stanford symphonies, featuring an unusual coupling of the early (but by no means juvenile) First Symphony (1876), without an opus number, and the much later Clarinet Concerto (1903). The sound of these Naxos recordings with an on-form Bournemouth SO has a nice forward quality which, for the rather luminous chamber quality of Stanford's second and third movements (especially the solo string- and wind-writing), gives great clarity to the pointillistic, almost Mendelssohnian orchestration. As with the other three recordings, Lloyd- Jones shows a real flair for the classical architecture of Stanford's art but at the same time he responds to the underlying and inescapable passion that exudes from the scores. The first movement retains a spaciousness and verve, while the finale has an infectious rhythmical élan reminding us of its foremost influence, Schumann's Spring Symphony (in the same key). Stanford's first (though unpublished) foray into symphonic music deserves to be better known but his Clarinet Concerto, here played by Robert Plane, is frequently given an airing. A fine work, in one continuous movement, written for Robert Mühlfeld (who never played it), it makes masterly use of the instrument's wide register and variety of timbres. Plane's interpretation of the composer's long lyrical lines (in particular the central Andante), the climactic peaks, dramatic interjections and tender pianissimi, are nothing short of exceptional in their careful grading; clearly, he has a special affinity for this music.”
“…Lloyd-Jones shows a real flair for the classical architecture of Stanford's art but at the same time he responds to the underlying and inescapable passion that exudes from the scores. Stanford's… Clarinet Concerto… makes masterly use of the instrument's wide register and variety of timbres. Plane's interpretation of the composer's long lyrical lines... climactic peaks, dramatic interjections and tender pianissimi, are nothing short of exceptional in their careful grading...”