This marks the first release from the Albany Records back catalog of the fine performances we have that have been conducted by the composer. We have selected the recordings we felt had the best sound for re-issue in SACD.
In his notes for the SACD re-issue of this magnificent symphony, William Lloyd, the composer’s nephew for the first time tells the horrible, true story of what happened to the composer during World War II. “When war broke out, George Lloyd joined the Royal Marines on the battle cruiser HMS Trinidad. He played cornet in the band when in port, and calculated the gunnery ranges and elevations when the ship saw action. He was not yet twenty-five and was one of the rising stars of operatic and symphonic music in Britain, having already composed three symphonies and two operas. In Spring, 1942, the HMS Trinidad was hit by a torpedo while in action in the Arctic ocean. Lloyd was alongside 20 members of the band deep inside the ship, surrounded by fuel tanks. When the torpedo struck, the tanks burst, and only three men managed to escape by climbing the iron ladder against a deluge of oil. Lloyd was the last to get out, pushing the man ahead, before the hatch fell and broke the back of the man behind him. He took oil into his stomach and lungs, but managed to struggle on to the deck. The shock of the blast, the extreme physical effort of the long climb, the poisonous effects of the oil, the exposure on the deck before he was taken off the ship, and the trauma of losing 17 of his closest friends – all musicians – was more than he could bear. His health and his personality disintegrated, along with his power of speech, his coordination, and his mobility.” The Trinidad limped to port in Murmansk. Lloyd was flown to a hospital near Aberdeen where the naval doctors declared there was nothing they could do for him. He was too far gone and in their opinion, he would be institutionalized for the rest of his life. This is when his wife Nancy took over. She removed him from the hospital and nursed him back to health. In 1946, he completed his Symphony No. 4. On the title page he wrote: “A world of darkness, storms, strange colors, and a far away peacefulness.” The Symphony had to wait until 1981 for its first performance under Sir Edward Downes.
This music, and indeed all his music, is a vindication of Lloyd’s unshakeable optimism and his simple refusal to stay down and accept defeat. Even if your customers have the older version of this wonderful symphony, they will want this new SACD version. Lloyd’s performance has never sounded better.