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Cat. No. CHSA 5119 Price: £11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5119 - Goossens: Orchestral Works
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Available From: 15 February 2013
Goossens: Orchestral Works

This album marks the beginning of the partnership between the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and its recently appointed Chief Conductor, Sir Andrew Davis, who already boasts an impressive discography on Chandos.

In the pieces performed here, we find Goossens emerging at the end of World War I as a brilliant and innovative orchestrator, a modernist with a technique derived from Debussy, Ravel, and early Stravinsky. As Director of the New South Wales Conservatorium in Sydney and Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he was phenomenally successful, his achievements earning him international fame. 

Four Conceits, Kaleidoscope, and Two Nature Poems all began life as works for solo piano, written during or just after World War I. All were later adapted for orchestral forces, and in steep contrast to the excessive length and opulence of much wartime music, these works (Kaleidoscope and Four Conceits in particular) are conspicuously brief. In fact, only one of the four Conceits exceeds two minutes. 

The short tone poem Tam o’Shanter and the four-act opera Don Juan de Mañara were both inspired by literary works. The former illustrates the well-known poem of the same name by Robert Burns, depicting the drunken return from Ayr of Tam on this horse, the uncertain gait of which is heard in the music from the outset. The libretto for Goossens’s opera had been written by Arnold Bennett after a play by Alexandre Dumas, père.

Also closely associated with the arts, Three Greek Dances was written for Margaret Morris whose flowing style of dancing, inspired by Isadora Duncan, we today associate with the 1920s. The piece, in its final form, was first performed in London by Morris and her dancers at the Faculty of Arts, Piccadilly in January 1931.

At the suggestion of their friend the critic Edwin Evans, four composers – John Ireland, Frank Bridge, Arnold Bax, and Eugene Goossens – jointly produced a miniature set of variations on the French folksong ‘Cadet Rousselle’, for soprano and piano. Goossens later arranged the set for orchestra without voice, the version performed here. 

Reviews

“… Andrew Davis does an excellent job, not merely bringing out the music’s color but phrasing in detail; for Goossens, even in the longer movements here, crafts lovingly without any padding. The Melbourne SO is a flexible, finely blended, and technically expert ensemble. Its soloists are nothing to sneer at either, not just in the Concert Piece, but also in the Intermezzo from Don Juan de Mañara, and Kaleidoscope…”

Barry Brenesal – Fanfare – November/December 2013

 "... Covering approximately 40 years, the program on this disc displays Goossen’s strengths: exquisite craftsmanship-especially in scoring-piquant but not ’difficult’ harmony and economy... The Davis disc is in a class of its own in terms of sonics ..."
Phillip Scott - Fanfare - September/October 2013

“…This interesting mix of music is well played and recorded…”

Roger Hecht – American Record Guide – September/October 2013

**** - Excellent

Giuseppe Rossi – Musica magazine – June 2013

                   **** - Excellent disc
Michel Fleury - Classica magazine - June 2013

 "Virtuoso orchestration by a super-skilled composer. The Intermezzo from Goossen’s opera Don Juan de Mañara is triking. Classy performances." ****
Malcolm Hayes - BBC Music magazine (Brief Notes section) - July 2013

 “... Chandos’s rich sound is up to the usual high standards and outshines Goossens’s own 1922 recording of Tam o’Shanter...”

Guy Rickards – Gramophone magazine – May 2013

"... It’s good to see a resurgence of interest on the music of Goossens again and particularly so well played as on this disc ..."
 
Michael Southern - PittwaterLife magazine (Australia) - April 2013

 "... From the first bars of the lively Kaleidoscope, Goosens’ music is obviously in the best of hands, and the second item here, Tam O’Shanter even gives Malcolm Arnold’s celebrated overture of the same name a run for its money (though Arnold’s is the more individual piece). This disc marks the beginning of the partnership between the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and its recently appointed Chief Conductor, Sir Andrew Davis, who already boasts an impressive discography on Chandos. In the pieces here, Goossens demonstrates his mastery of orchestration notably with Four Conceits, Kaleidoscope, and Two Nature Poems, which were initially pieces for solo piano... Sound values are top-notch."

 
Barry Forshaw - ClassicalCDChoice.co.uk - 31 March 2013

“...All these pieces are excellently played by the Melbourne Symphony, and recorded with an attentive ear to Goossen’s subtleties ...”
 
John Warrack – International Record Review – March 2013

                        Performance  ****½                     Sonics  ****½
“...The performances of all the music, given here by Sir Andrew Davis and the excellent Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, could hardly be bettered. Special praise must be given to Jeff Crellin (oboe and cor anglais) and the two harpists Marshall Maguire and Alannah Guthrie-Jones for their sensitive playing of the solo parts in the ‘Concert Piece’. The acoustic of the Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne provides both warmth and clarity for the transport sound captured on this Chandos 5.0 channel 24-bit/96 Hz disc... Those who enjoy the music of , say, Bax, Walton, Grainger or any of the other composers mentioned above should not hesitate to investigate this invaluable release.”
 
Graham Williams – SACD.net – 1 March 2013

 

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