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Cat. No. CHAN 10310 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10310 - Bridge: Orchestral Works, Vol. 6
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Available From: 09 May 2005
"The most engaging of all the early orchestral songs is in fact one of Bridge’s very first surviving compositions. Dorothy Wordsworth’s poem The days are cold, the nights are long is a gentle, rather sentimental nocturnal lyric. Bridge often returned to images of the night – dreams, nightmares, the silence and isolation of darkness – but in this Berceuse the night scene is a song of innocence. It is beautifully scored and Bridge responds with an engaging freshness.

Some critics have commented that Bridge’s songs became more assured around the outbreak of the First World. In the setting of Mary Coleridge’s Where she lies asleep, composed in April 1914, the vocal line is freer than before, following the rise and fall of the text rather than being cast in a fixed metre. Bridge is entering more expressive territory here. In Adoration the poet moves from quiet adoration to an ecstatic outpouring of love. Its companion, the energetic Love went a-riding, is Bridge’s most famous song, with one of his most extrovert piano accompaniments, here brilliantly orchestrated.

Bridge’s finest songs date from the 1920s, in particular the three settings of translations, by the poet himself, of Hindu poems by Rabindranath Tagore – Day after day, Speak to me, my love! and Dweller in my deathless dreams. They belong to a very different expressive world, one of alienation, or thoughts and emotions implied rather than stated. Bridge composed the first for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. The vocal line is declamatory, the musical language and the orchestration more exotically perfumed, with whole tones and complex higher dominant harmonies redolent of Debussy, Ravel and Scriabin.

The Pageant of London was part of a grand Empire Pageant produced to celebrate the coronation of George V. A series of twenty-eight tableaux presented the history of London, and Bridge provided music for two of these.

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Reviews

Review for Volumes 1 - 6
"...Throughout these six collections the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are on top form; they obviously enjoy the music. Hickox is persuasively idiomatic an spontaneous, and the Chandos recording is first class)"

The Pengiun Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12
 

A fascinating, revealing disc… Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are first-rate champions in all these pieces… and the recordings are every bit as good as the musicianship deserves.
BBC Music Magazine ‘Pick of the Month’ on CHAN 9950 (Vol. 1)

Crowned with Song
BBC Music Magazine ‘Monthly Choice’

The spacious sound and Paul Hindmarsh’s informative notes are well up to the standards of the earlier five volumes. A pity that, like all good things, this series has to end…
International Record Review

The nine orchestral songs shared between tenor Philip Langridge and mezzo Sarah Connolly, and mostly recorded for the first time, prove the most rewarding. Connolly sings two exquisite Tagore songs with rapturous intensity, while Langridge is superb in Bridge’s 1918 setting of Rupert Brooke’s ‘Blow Out, You Bugles’.
The Guardian

Richard Hickoxs invaluable survey of Frank Bridges orchestral music for Chandos… [is] one of the most important contributions to British music on disc in the last decade.
The Guardian on CHAN 10188 (Vol. 4)

Throw in some spick and span playing from the BBC NOW and Chandos’ commendably natural engineering, not to mention Paul Hindmarsh’s scholarly notes, and you have a job well done. Might Hickox now be persuaded to turn his thoughts to Bridge’s lovely one-act opera ‘The Christmas Rose’?
Gramophone

Hickox conjures a marvellous range of colour and expression from the players of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales… The conductors version of The Sea is the grandest and bestrecorded on disc…
The Daily Telegraph on CHAN 10012 (Vol. 2)

 

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