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CD Review

18th-Century British Symphonies

  • Thomas Alexander Erskine Kelly: Periodical Overture
  • Thomas Augustine Arne: Symphony #4
  • John Collett: Symphony Op. 2 #5
  • William Smethergell: Symphony Op. 5 #2
  • Carl Friedrich Abel: Symphony Op. 10 #1
  • John Marsh: a Conversation Sinfonie
The Hannover Band/Graham Lea-Cox
Academy Sound & Vision CDGAU216 71m DDD
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AS&V's Gaudeamus label continues to churn out high quality music that really demands its resurrection from obscurity. This collection of spirited British symphonies from bygone years shows that the genre was quite qualitative in Britain.

The Earl of Kelly's (1732-1781) 'Periodical Overture' contains a delightful Andantino and a brilliant Presto whilst Arne's Fourth Symphony is characteristic of the composer. Collett and Smethergell may not be very familiar names these days but their symphonies are indeed very fine especially the latter's Op. 5. Abel was a German composer who was a contemporary of Mozart and his symphonies are also of high quality as the Op. 10 demonstrates. Finally we have John Marsh who has already had an Olympia disc dedicated entirely to him, this Conversation Sinfonie shows him at the height of his powers as a composer. The Hanover Band and their conductor Graham Lea Cox give spirited and infectious performances of the works and the project deserves a wholehearted recommendation.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech