These Chandos repackagings are well worth your attention if the repertoire
suits. While the most recent recording dates from 1990 this is no disadvantage
as the sound is uniformly lively as are the performances.
Outstanding are the athletic performances by I Musici de Montreal conducted
by, Chandos stalwart, Yuli Turovsky. These are recorded in a vibrant acoustic
which draws you into the orchestra in an experience which is always pleasurable
and never oppressive. Most of the pieces are well known and require little
comment from me. The Apollo track is the work of a brilliant young
man. Its dalliance with peppery effects remains exciting and engaging. The
Simple Symphony and the Bridge Variations are simply amongst
the best recordings in the catalogue. The finale of the Simple Symphony surprised
me by its relationship and similarity with the Tippett Concerto for Double
String Orchestra. Lachrymae is a tougher piece but it is touchingly
done by Rivka Golani; quite a feat given that it is not a piece focused on
I find the desiccated music which forms the suite from Death in Venice
about as loveable as the opera itself: i.e. not very much. However it
is here for anyone at all curious.
Finally I have high praise for Vernon Handley in the Four Sea Interludes
and Passacaglia from Grimes. The sequence is really incomplete
without that almost operatic passacaglia. Handley's storm scene is all grey
pebbles, a giant firmament wild with massive grey clouds and large heavy
raindrops. I am afraid I would still give the top recommendation to André
Previn's late 1970s EMI recording but the Handley is special. The lively
sound and bustling activity reminded me that these same forces recorded the
Bax Fourth Symphony (another sea picture) during the same decade.
Superb cover art: 'In the store during a pause from fishing' by Peder Severin.
The picture is very apposite and it 'sings well' with the music - well the
Good notes taken from the original releases.
Minor gripe: Why not give total playing time for both discs. This is nice
candid feature seen on some other 'Twofer' series.