Hyperion continues to provide the discerning music lover with a plethora of discoveries that turn out to be almost always pretty enticing. This latest release features music by the almost unknown Scottish composer Frederic Lamond coupled with a delightful overture by his compatriot d'Albert.
The overture to 'Esther' makes for a splendid opening to the disc and is full of some beautiful melodies that surely stick in the memory. Brabbins conducts with evident relish and the orchestra is also taken up by the infectious snap of the work.
Lamond's Symphony is a well constructed and finely thought out piece but it lacks an ounce of memorabilia and as such is to be listened to with a neutral frame of mind. Each movement is imbued with some fine music but at the end, one is left rather hollow at a work which imitates Brahms and Dvořák although not truly an original piece. However, the music is pleasant enough although I will not imagine myself returning to it so often.
On the plus side, I enjoyed Lamond's 'Highlands' Overture which contains exuberance and patriotic glory that is to be found in similar works by German and Smyth. Here one also glimpses a faint tinge of the Brahms' 'Tragic Overture' but I would count it as one of Lamond's best works. The 'Sword Dance' is also very energetic and quite rowdy in its content, very intriguing as a depiction of a clan gathering.
Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony provide well-nigh definitive interpretations of these works and although they may not be up in the exalted canon of greatness, they will provide you with a pleasant evening of listening. The wonderful cover painting and copious notes by John Purser definitely add to the allure of this release.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech