Add a serving spoon of Sir William Walton and Gustav Holst, a teaspoon of Vaughan Williams, and a couple of pinches of Sir Arnold Bax, Sir Edward Elgar, and Delius, and we therefore get the essence of Edgar Bainton's Symphony no. II in D Minor (1939-1940). The tragic expressionism of Sir Charles Villier Stanford's 4th symphony can also be felt when listening to this work. Bainton's Second Symphony is a one-movement piece (with 12 interlinking, continuous sections) and is rewardingly concise and telling. It's a work mixed with tradegy and seriousness with some sense of optimism. It's a epic piece not far from the Australian heritage Bainton grew up with.
Hubert Clifford's four-movement Symphony in D Minor (1938-1940) shares the similar idioms of the 1930s English music. Clifford's work is purly epic and optimistic, a premonition of life and of spring, and is not far from the optimism of Delius and later Malcolm Arnold's earlier symphonies. The Symphony is wholly attractive and compelling, with its thematic ideas distinctive and fresh. The Serenade of John Gough is a nice and memorable filler to this enterprising compact disc.
And this disc is enterprising. Vernon Handley and the BBC Philharmonic altogether gave the performances of the works with such a force, emotionalism, passion, and admiration that listening to them makes me want to get up and suggest to various North American orchestras to perform them as well (believe or not, music of Great Britain is not well-represented in North America or even in European countries outside Great Britain or Ireland). As usual, the Chandos recordings provide full, natural, and accurate sound. Well done!
May I hope for further recordings and releases of Clifford, Gough, and Bainton's works?
Hurry! Get this disc! (even though Chandos is the only recording company that never delete their recordings).