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   Symphonic Poems: April 2008 Archives

English Music from Lyrita

Lyrita 269

Granville Bantock
Overture to a Greek Tragedy 1

Joseph Holbrooke
The Birds of Rhiannon 2

Cyril Rootham
Symphony #1 2

1 Philharmonia Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite
2 London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley
Lyrita SRCD269 62:30

A concert comprising Bantock's moody overture, Holbrooke's fairly gentle tone poem, and Rootham's engaging symphony. There are echoes of such composers as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax, a touch of Edward Elgar, even Ernst Moeran. The heart of the half-hour symphony is its beautiful slow movement with similarities to Vaughan Williams' Pastoral Symphony and occasionally William Walton's 1st.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

Polish 19th-Century Symphonic Works

Accord 11369

Karol Kurpinski (1785-1857): Two Huts
Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski (1807-67): Monbar
Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-72): The Fairy Tale
Zygmunt Noskowski (1844-1909): The Steppes
Wladyslaw Zelenski (1837-1921): In the Tatra Mountains

Sinfonia Varsovia/Grzegorz Nowak
Accord 011369-2 66:31

This is an enjoyable collection of orchestral music by mostly little-known 19th-century Polish composers. The standout is the Noskowski, a 20-minute symphonic poem with memorable themes and sweeping momentum. The mystery is the inclusion in the Zelenski of a theme familiar from Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto, which was written 25 years later.

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Little-Known Sibelius

BIS 815

Jean Sibelius

The Wood Nymph, Op. 15 - Ballade
A Lonely Ski-Trail (1925)
Swanwhite, Op. 54
The Wood Nymph, Op. 15 - Melodrama

Timo Keinonen, cello
Lasse Pöysti, narrator
Sakari Tepponen, violin
Pauli Pietiläinen, organ
Harri Karri, piano
Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä
BIS BIS-CD815 62:08

The Wood Nymph is early Sibelius but is a powerful orchestral work that had to wait until this 1996 CD for its first recording. Swanwhite is a delicate suite of incidental music with most movements lasting little more than a minute. If you dislike music with narration, the other two pieces are minor short works and it's these that include the narrator.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]