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Cat. No. CHAN 10188 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10188 - Bridge: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4
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Available From: 05 April 2004
Bridge composed Lament for string orchestra in 1915 in memory of a young friend who, with her family, drowned when the Lusitania was sunk. It is one of his most effective miniatures, poignant yet restrained in its lyrical beauty, with a compelling directness of expression and simplicity of construction.

In the spring of 1916 Bridge drafted a more extended, though equally poignant war work. This was his plea for peace, a setting of ‘A Prayer’ by the fourteenth-century German mystic Thomas à Kempis. It was Bridge’s only work for chorus and orchestra and he cast it in a simple verse form.

All Bridge’s convictions and emotions about the First World War were enshrined in the Oration for Solo Cello and Orchestra, which was completed in 1930, nearly twelve years after the Armistice. Bridge apparently changed the title from Concerto elegiaco to Oration because he wanted to make clear that it was an outcry against the futility of war.

‘Rebus’, according to its dictionary definition, is a sort of graphic riddle. The overture of that name was a comment on the Second World War and the title suggests that the work is trying to convey, in musical terms, the way in which ideas, thoughts and images can become progressively distorted and their meaning transformed from innocent to macabre.

The Allegro moderato for strings was Bridge’s last work, and he died before he could finish it. He orchestrated all but the last 21 bars (which were completed by Dr Anthony Pople in the 1970s). It is known that Bridge intended to write a symphony, and the Allegro moderato is probably only its first movement.
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
                

An exceptionally attractive and generous concert… an essential purchase for Oration alone – and the music itself deserves the widest dissemination.
Gramophone

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

'Recorded sound is fully on par with previous volumes, as is Paul Hindmarsh's booklet note, with its excepts from reviews and letters. Those who have been collecting this series can proceed without hesitation''
International Record Review

'Gerhardt plays Oration to the hilt, with virtuosity and passion. Hickox and the Welsh forces do a fine job. This is a fine disc in an important series.'
American Record Guide

'All in all, enthusiastically endorsed.'
Fanfare (USA)

'Oration, his 1930 one-movement concerto, delivered here with tub-thumping passion by soloist Alban Gerhardt, is thrillingly persuasive… Hickox conducts with zeal.'
Classic FM Magazine

'' this is an essential purchase for Oration alone - and the music itself deserves the widest dissmenation.'
Gramophone

A Superb release. *****
The Independent

'Hickox's grand and timely survey of the orchestral music of Frank Bridge has left the best till last: the single movement, 30-minute cello concerto Oration, the composer's impassioned, finely wrought response to the horror and pity of the first world war, here spledidly played by the BBC's Welsh orchestra and the German cellist Alban Gerhardt, in a vivid, spacious recording. The disc also includes two striking late pieces, the concert overture Rebus and the Allegro moderato for strings . '
Sunday Times

'A superb release' *****
The Independent

Hickoxs grand and timely survey of the orchestral music of Frank Bridge has left the best till last: the single movement, 30-minute cello concerto Oration, the composers impassioned, finely wrought response to the horror and pity of the first world war, here spledidly played by the BBCs Welsh orchestra and the German cellist Alban Gerhardt, in a vivid, spacious recording. The disc also includes two striking late pieces, the concert overture Rebus and the Allegro moderato for strings .
Sunday Times

' this is an essential purchase for Oration alone - and the music itself deserves the widest dissmenation.
Gramophone

'Here [in Oration] the intelligence and flexibility of Alban Gerhardt's phrasing and the strong emotional charge of his playing count for a lot. Gerhardt's sensitivity to the subtle gradations of dark timbres that Bridge continually exploits to create an elegiac, phantasmal world of lament make this probably the best yet among the few recordings Oration has ever had.'
BBC Music Magazine

 

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