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Symphony 1940/ Symphony No. 2/

BBC Po; Handley , Bainton; Gough; Clifford Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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1. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Andante, molto tranquillo
2. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Allegro vivace
3. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Piu allegro
4. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Maestoso piu lento
5. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Molto vivace, scherzando
6. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Poco piu mosso
7. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Allegro vivace
8. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Adagio
9. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Molto maestoso
10. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Piu lento
11. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Lento
12. Symphony No. 2 in D minor: Molto maestoso
13. Serenade For Small Orchestra
14. Symphony 1940: I Moderato con anima
15. Symphony 1940: II Scherzo
16. Symphony 1940: III Adagio
17. Symphony 1940: IV Allegro Molto

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Amazon.ca

The strand that connects all three composers on this characteristically bold Chandos release is Australia. Hubert Clifford (1904-59) and his good friend John Gough (1903-51) hail from Victoria and Tasmania respectively (and both, spookily enough, ended up in London working for the BBC),whereas Englishman Edgar Bainton (1880-1956) emigrated to Sydney in 1934 to take up the directorship of the New South Wales State Conservatory. Of the two large-scale symphonies so eloquently realised here by Vernon Handley and the BBC Philharmonic, Bainton's second of 1939-40 is perhaps the more striking. Some 27 minutes in duration, it's cast in a single movement made up of a dozen sections. Fortunately, the symphonic argument is easily grasped, and Bainton's unfailingly evocative and imaginative scoring falls most gratefully on the ear. Clifford's Symphony 1940 is impressive too, though its bitter-sweet lyricism and unashamedly epic demeanour unavoidably prompt comparisons with Walton's masterly first symphony of a few years previous (next to which it seems like pretty small fry). Gough's miniature Serenade (written in 1931 for Clifford's wedding) forms a toothsome bonne bouche between the two main courses. Terrific Chandos sound complements the outstandingly sympathetic music-making. --Andrew Achenbach

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pleasure of Discovery Oct. 9 2000
Format:Audio CD
Discovery is one of the delights of collecting musical performances on CD, especially for those of us who either live too far from a major orchestra to be regular concert-goers or who simply lead lives too busy to accommodate the logistics of getting to the concert-hall and back, all in the evening of a distracting day. Not to mention that concert-programs tend to be limited to very mainstream classics and that ticket-prices for the major symphony orchestras have soared. So might one have known Holst's "The Planets" from the concert-hall, but for "Egdon Heath" or the "Choral Symphony" or the "Fugal Overture," one needed recordings - LPs in the old days, now supplanted by the more generous medium of the CD. And sometimes, indeed, it's not merely an unknown work by a composer whom we already know; it's a brand-new (to us) composer, all of whose works at present are a mystery. These remarks furnish the prelude to my strongest recommendation for a recent issue on Chandos: Symphonies by the Australian composers Edgar Bainton (1880-1956) and Hubert Clifford (1904-1959). These two big scores (Bainton's, in D-Minor, from 1939; Clifford's, no key signature, from 1940) belong identifiably to the British school, with recognizable affinities to Vaughan-Williams and Bax. As in Bax, so in Bainton does the orchestration reflect also a knowledge of what Russian and French composers could accomplish in terms of carefully calculated color. As in Vaughan-Williams, so in Clifford do modal harmonies unite with large-scale redeployments of baroque procedures like chorale and passacaglia. Clifford's is the heftiest of the two, clocking in at over forty minutes. Vernon Handley comes naturally into this new-old repertory and leads the gorgeous BBC Philharmonic with aplomb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a cracker! July 14 2000
Format:Audio CD
I followed the advice of the previous reviewer David A. Hollingsworth and purchased this CD and can only endorse his recommendation. This is a wonderful CD that literally leaves you 'gagging for more'. The Bainton Symphony Number 2 is a work that has sadly been ignored by the British probably because the composer had emigrated to Australia at the age of 53 just six/seven years before he penned this splendid work and they wrote it off as an 'Australian work'. Itis a mature expression of dignity and reverence for the past and it is a real shame that they did not pick it up; there is not an excess so we can just throw away and waste quality symphonic works of this calibre. The Australians considered it to be a British work, which in truth it is, and they ignored it accordingly as not representing their culture. Alas, what a loss to the listening public for this work is within the Stanford/Ireland lineage but has the Zeitgeist, subliminally so but still indeniably there, of the early 1940's impressed upon it. There is much of the northern fog and rain in the scoring that takes the orchestation of Debussy's sound world in the beginning of Gigues in the toned down coloration. This is not the bright aspiration of a new migrant, celebrating his arrival in a new land. This is the concern of a true Englishman who was afraid for the loss of his nation and his culture. It must be remembered that this man was born at the zenith of the Victorian age and witnessed the glory of Britain at her greatest. When Chandos decided to make this disc they really got it right. The delighful Gough is a miniature that sits amidst the Bainton with the Clifford Symphony 1940. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enterprising and Important. Dec 19 1999
Format:Audio CD
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).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enterprising and Important. Dec 19 1999
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
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 of works of these very fine composers?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pleasure of Discovery Oct. 9 2000
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Discovery is one of the delights of collecting musical performances on CD, especially for those of us who either live too far from a major orchestra to be regular concert-goers or who simply lead lives too busy to accommodate the logistics of getting to the concert-hall and back, all in the evening of a distracting day. Not to mention that concert-programs tend to be limited to very mainstream classics and that ticket-prices for the major symphony orchestras have soared. So might one have known Holst's "The Planets" from the concert-hall, but for "Egdon Heath" or the "Choral Symphony" or the "Fugal Overture," one needed recordings - LPs in the old days, now supplanted by the more generous medium of the CD. And sometimes, indeed, it's not merely an unknown work by a composer whom we already know; it's a brand-new (to us) composer, all of whose works at present are a mystery. These remarks furnish the prelude to my strongest recommendation for a recent issue on Chandos: Symphonies by the Australian composers Edgar Bainton (1880-1956) and Hubert Clifford (1904-1959). These two big scores (Bainton's, in D-Minor, from 1939; Clifford's, no key signature, from 1940) belong identifiably to the British school, with recognizable affinities to Vaughan-Williams and Bax. As in Bax, so in Bainton does the orchestration reflect also a knowledge of what Russian and French composers could accomplish in terms of carefully calculated color. As in Vaughan-Williams, so in Clifford do modal harmonies unite with large-scale redeployments of baroque procedures like chorale and passacaglia. Clifford's is the heftiest of the two, clocking in at over forty minutes. Vernon Handley comes naturally into this new-old repertory and leads the gorgeous BBC Philharmonic with aplomb.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a cracker! July 14 2000
By K. Farrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I followed the advice of the previous reviewer David A. Hollingsworth and purchased this CD and can only endorse his recommendation. This is a wonderful CD that literally leaves you 'gagging for more'. The Bainton Symphony Number 2 is a work that has sadly been ignored by the British probably because the composer had emigrated to Australia at the age of 53 just six/seven years before he penned this splendid work and they wrote it off as an 'Australian work'. Itis a mature expression of dignity and reverence for the past and it is a real shame that they did not pick it up; there is not an excess so we can just throw away and waste quality symphonic works of this calibre. The Australians considered it to be a British work, which in truth it is, and they ignored it accordingly as not representing their culture. Alas, what a loss to the listening public for this work is within the Stanford/Ireland lineage but has the Zeitgeist, subliminally so but still indeniably there, of the early 1940's impressed upon it. There is much of the northern fog and rain in the scoring that takes the orchestation of Debussy's sound world in the beginning of Gigues in the toned down coloration. This is not the bright aspiration of a new migrant, celebrating his arrival in a new land. This is the concern of a true Englishman who was afraid for the loss of his nation and his culture. It must be remembered that this man was born at the zenith of the Victorian age and witnessed the glory of Britain at her greatest. When Chandos decided to make this disc they really got it right. The delighful Gough is a miniature that sits amidst the Bainton with the Clifford Symphony 1940. This is a much more 'Australian' work in the sense that the composer was fourth generation 'digger' and the dynamics are much more marked. There is a great vigor and inner formal strength that is not so delineated as the Bainton but this is a totally different artistic expression. The orchestration is more free and the individual instruments and not as blended as in the Bainton yet we can see this was a considerable musical talent who may be allowed to emerge from obscurity thanks to this remarkable CD. Clifford was an Australian who came to the UK in the 1940's whereas Bainton was a Briton who had moved to Australia. Thus there is a symmetry in this work which shows the cross-fertilisation and interdependence of the two cultures at the time before Australia cast its immigration nets further afield and became more multi-cultural. I was totally knocked out by this and I can join my previous reviewer in repeatedly enjoying its manifold delights. Wonderful!
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb performances of interesting music July 27 2014
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The music of minor British composers is currently so well represented on disc that one starts to feel that some barrel-scraping is going on, but the disc at hand is certainly not an example of that. In fact, the music on this disc is only arguably British – Edgar Bainton was born and raised in Britain, but spent much of his career in Australia, whereas Hubert Clifford went the other way. Bainton’s music is rooted in late-romantic or post-romantic idioms, and his second symphony (1941) is clearly indebted to Sibelius, at least formally: It consists of several movements that are “fused” into a single-movement structure, emphasized by an underlying march theme that occasionally rises to the foreground. The harmonic palette, however, is comprised of German late-romantic tricks and impressionism – yes, the result sounds a bit like Bax, though Bainton also manages to insert some personal (and indeed Australian) touches, such as the use of Australian bird songs. That said, the work also lacks the memorability and striking colors of Bax’s best works – it is interesting enough to warrant a listen but hardly a masterpiece.

I was, in fact, more impressed with the Symphony 1940 by Hubert Clifford (1904-1959). What I had previously encountered of Clifford’s music has primarily been picturesque, lighter music, but this symphony is a serious, ambitious and imposing work. Though definitely tonal, it is not primarily a melodic work, yet Clifford spins his motifs into a convincing large-scale structure with effectively shaped climaxes and imaginative touches – the work manages to sustain its rather substantial length well. Stylistically there are once again touches of Sibelius, but even more clearly Clifford’s teacher Vaughan Williams, with some post-Wagnerian textures and a bit of almost Elgarian swagger.

In between the two substantial works we get a brief, pleasant and light Serenade by John Gough (1903-1951), a composer I had not encountered before. It is a moving little piece, but rather out of place between the two substantial symphonies. Everything, however, is superbly performed by the BBC Philharmonic under the masterly direction of the ever-dependable Vernon Handley, and the Chandos sound is spectacular, as usual. In the end, this is a valuable if not ultimately indispensable release, recommended in particular for the Clifford, well worth the attention of any fan of twentieth century orchestral music.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Postwar Austalian symphonies Feb. 3 2007
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Here's a CD that confuses me -- a 1999 recording of Australian composers no one's ever heard of and music that is in no way individual or magnificent -- that stays in print while other more satisfying recordings depart after a year. This is the same reaction I had when I last reviewed a CD by Australian performers (ASIN: B000003IVO).

This CD puts forth the work of three Aussie composers that were trained in London's Royal Academy of Music -- Edgar Bainton (1880-1956), John Gough (1903-1951) and Hubert Clifford (1904-1959). The symphonies from Bainton and Clifford -- both students of Stanford (Bainton was a friend of Holst and Clifford also studied with Vaughan Williams) reflect common thematic material in England during the period of their compositions and both works show the influence of popular British symphonists.

Bainton's Symphony No. 2 in D minor from 1939-40 (but not introduced until after the war) begins the program. Reminiscent in design to Granville Bantock's "Hebridean" symphony, the opus is in 12 disparate parts, a few of which cause the orchestra to stop and restart. The musical language is clearly Elgarian with touches of Britten, Holst and French impressionism entering at various times. Even though the symphony mimics Bantock's "Hebridean", it shares none of its likeness to Richard Strauss. This music is clearly modeled after the Edwardian influence on Elgar and teacher Stanford.

Gough's 2-minute "Serenade from small orchestra" is a trilfe hardly worth mentioning. Clifford's "Symphony 1940" from 1938-40 is Waltonesque and a possible tribute to Sibelius, a composer popular in Britian diring the 1930s. The opening Moderato con anima is lightly sprung in major keys, using high brass and strings to promote its happy message. The following Scherzo is more jollity in major keys and the lengthy Adagio that follows (15:43) varies little stylistically or spiritually from the two opening movements. The concluding Allegro molto begins in a quieter, darker cadence but sheds it skin and travels in lively brass figures. It wears much like the opening movements, ending in a explosion of sound.

If I sound less enthusiastic than other reviewers here, there's good reason for that. Amazon recommended this CD to me after I bought one of Davis's recent Elgar symphonies. The sound bytes were interesting and I bit. Having digested the contents of this CD, I would say there is not a single thing individual or a single memorable theme herein. Veteran British conductor Vernon Handley and the BBC Philharmonic wring out what there is in these scores. If this represents the state of the symphony from Australia, it's little wonder we know nothing about it.

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