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Scored for a large orchestra, including an extensive percussion section, Sir Arthur Bliss’s Metamorphic Variations dates from the end of his creative life.
Inspired by the triptych Tantris painted by Bliss’s long-time friend, the late George Dannatt, it is a work of extremes, of enormous power, passion and violence balanced by gentleness, whimsy and delicacy.
Meditations on a Theme by John Blow is one of Bliss’s most eloquent and personal scores, a private tribute to a generation cut down in its youth, including his own brother, during World War I.
Arthur Bliss: Meditations on a Theme by John Blow
Introduction: The Lord is my Shepherd - I will fear no evil
Meditation I: He leadeth me beside the still waters
Meditation II: Thy rod and staff they comfort me
Meditation III: Lambs
Meditation IV: He restoreth my soul
Meditation V: In green pastures
Interlude: Through the valley of the shadow of death
Finale: In the house of the Lord
Arthur Bliss: Metamorphic Variations
Variation 1: Elements
Variation 2: Ballet
Variation 3: Assertion
Variation 4: Speculation
Variation 5: Interjections
Variation 6: Scherzo I
Variation 7: Contemplation
Variation 8: Polonaise
Variation 9: Funeral Processions
Variation 10: Cool Interlude
Variation 11: Scherzo II
Variation 12: Duet
Variation 13: Dedicated to G.D. and A.D.
Variation 14: Affirmation
6th May 2010
“Together with the Colour Symphony...the Meditations on a Theme of John Blow is Bliss's most considerable orchestral work, and arguably his greatest achievement. Its tone is both pastoral and elegiac...It's touchingly effective”
“...Lloyd-Jones [probes] beyond its obvious aspect as a display piece for the various sections of the orchestra. Indeed his performance makes me feel that the work may have been a kind of self-portrait of its creator...This is certainly a disc that no British music fan should be without.”
“If Sir Arthur Bliss wrote a finer work than the Medititations on a Theme of John Blow then I would like to hear it...Bliss's score is a glowing exhibition of his compositional prowess...Meditations has been recorded before...yet the newcomer is beautifully played, well paced and boasts the finest sound to date.”