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Symphony No. 1/Ballade

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Product Details

  • Composer: Benjamin
  • Audio CD (July 16 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MP
  • ASIN: B00000464D
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1. Symphony No. 1 (1944-45): Largo
2. Symphony No. 1 (1944-45): Scherzo
3. Symphony No. 1 (1944-45): Adagio appassionato
4. Symphony No. 1 (1944-45): Introduzione ed Allegro alla marcia
5. Ballade For String Orchestra

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Cody Robert at Spokane - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960) is recalled today mainly for two enduring works, the pops-concert staple "Jamaican rumba" (1938) and the superbly kitschy STORM CLOUDS CANTATA (1934/56) which Hitchcock commissioned to show off the Albert Hall acoustics and the heroine's showstopping scream in both versions of MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. (Benjamin did other important film work too, but the scores are lost, and Benjamin is so cosmopolitan a figure in British music he needs revival by the reconstructionist conductor John Wilson. There is a limited reconstruction of the Benjamin film scores on a 2012 Chandos release, conducted by Rumon Gamba, that has some authenticity issues.)

Benjamin, born in Sydney, grew up and trained in Brisbane, whence this recording premiere. He emigrated to England in 1911 for scholarship studies at the Royal College of Music. He served in the Great War and joined the RCM faculty in 1921, where his many students included another Benjamin, the young Britten. The famous rumba and cantata (and four operas) followed and inevitably another war, which Benjamin spent comfortably but busily in Vancouver and at Reed College in Portland. The North American years yielded this serious but affirmative wartime symphony and also the lighter NORTH AMERICAN SQUARE DANCE suite. Both works appear on Lyrita's definitive but costlier Arthur Benjamin anthology, but this was the symphony's enterprising 1995 recording premiere, fittingly conducted by Maestro Lyndon-Gee with the expat composer's hometown orchestra. It's an angry and dramatic work--not without echoes of the stormy Hitchcock cantata--and a surprisingly fine one, as Benjamin had successfully mastered both lighter and more serious concert composition. Dedicated to Ralph Vaughan Williams, it drew the attention of Sir Adrian Boult who performed but did not record it. Since the Benjamin symphony was completed in wartime Canada (cf. Robert Farnon's slightly earlier "Ottawa" Symphony, recorded by John Wilson with the BBC Concert Orchestra), it has special historical interest, and in its evocation of and tribute to courageous Blitzed London you will be chillingly reminded of the bleaker moments in Vaughan Williams' or Britten's war-influenced compositions.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars Nov. 19 2014
By S.B. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great British Symphony.