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Sym In A Maj/Ovt To Esther/Con Import

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A rewarding discovery April 17 2012
By G.D. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Frederic Lamond (1868-1948) is known as a pianist - he was a pupil of Liszt - but his own compositions are rarely heard, to put it mildly. His symphony is a well-crafted and consistently enjoyable work, even if none of the themes really manage to stick in the mind. The style owes plenty to Brahms and Dvorak, perhaps even Bruch, and is overall a pretty conservative affair, but Lamond imbues the work with just enough spirit, energy, and folk-inspired light-heartedness to make the end result pretty effective.

The two smaller works are perhaps more memorable per se (though I do not wish to cast aspersions on the symphony, which is indeed a fine work). "In the Scottish Highlands" is muscular and exuberant and should appeal to anyone who are able to enjoy, say, MacCunn's Land of the Mountain and the Flood, with good themes and skillful development. The "Sword Dance" is appropriately wild and energetic and would make for a nice concert encore.

As a coupling we get the concert overture `Esther' by Lamond's compatriot Eugene d'Albert. It is a harmless piece of nice melodies and atmosphere without really doing very much. It is all excellently played by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins, who clearly enjoys the music and imbues it with color and panache - it is very hard to imagine any of the music here being better done, and the sound and notes are all superb. In short, this is a rather valuable if not world-shaking discovery that can be heartily recommended to any lover of romantic music.

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