Symphony #1 in C Minor, Op. 1 (1889)
Orchestral Picture "Cloud and Sunshine" (1890)
Malmö Opera Orchestra/Christopher Fifield
Sterling CDS-1055-2 57:51
Asked to guess the identity of the composer of these works, you might consider a minor nineteenth-century German composer who knew his Brahms and Wagner very well: to take just one example, a lot of Stanford's music sounds like Brahms, but is none the worse for that.
Although born in the same year as Elgar, the English composer Cliffe followed a different path and although there are hints of later music, in the music presented here he never strays far from the norm of the period. The symphony, running about 43 minutes, is a welcome addition to the recorded repertoire. At its centre is a stately and quite emotional slow movement. Cloud and Sunshine is much what you'd expect. The somewhat reverberant acoustic – a church in Malmö – suits the music and Fifield, who has made other first recordings for Sterling, makes the best case for it.