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Cat. No. CHAN 10167 Price: £12 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10167 - The Berkeley Edition, Vol. 4
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Available From: 12 January 2004
Lennox Berkeley’s Symphony No. 2 – the second of four – was one of the earliest works to which the composer admitted elements of modernist dissonance, though without ever compromising his strong and individual voice. Written in 1958, it was revised by the composer seventeen years later. Most of the revisions concerned the scoring, for he felt he had previously been too preoccupied with keeping the orchestral colours distinct. In the revised work, the orchestration is freer and more robust.

Lennox Berkeley composed Voices of the Night in 1973 for the Three Choirs Festival. The composer described the work as an impressionistic nocturne, in which he had tried to ‘give expression to the mysterious atmosphere of the night, and to reproduce the heightened romantic feelings that it can arouse more powerfully than day’.

Michael Berkeley’s Organ Concerto was premiered at Ely cathedral in July 1987. He describes it less as a conventional concerto than as a work of ‘ritual’, inspired by his years as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, and in particular by the liturgy of Easter: ‘the bringer of light after darkness and the purifying power of fire’. The Organ Concerto exemplifies two recurring features of the music of Michael Berkeley: his feeling for the dramatic interactions of the concerto medium and his ability to devise convincing singlemovement structures.

Both are equally in evidence in his Viola Concerto, first performed in July 1994 and substantially revised in 1996. Though, like that of the Organ Concerto, the orchestra is a large one, it is here more sparingly deployed in the solo passages, which often feature no more than a handful of solo wind and string instruments.

'Performances and recordings are excellent.'

As always in this series, the performances and recording are exemplary. Hickoxs reading of the symphony is fuller and more robust that the composers Lyrita recording…
American Record Guide

This magnificent series devoted to the two Berkeleys continues, with operas and solo piano music still to come. Three out of four works here are first recordings and as in the previous three volumes there are revelations, with Richard Hickox as the ideal interpreter in every way.

The fourth volume of the invaluable Chandos Berkeley series repeats the successful formula of the previous issues' like the others in this series, this is a disc to return to for ever-increasing rewards.
International Record Review


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