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Cat. No. CHAN 10426 X Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10426 - Ulster Orchestra / Handley - Britten/ Bridge/Bax/Stanford: Orchestral Works
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Bax: Orchestral Works, Volume 9:
CHAN 10457(**)

Available From: 01 January 2007
Britten’s Peter Grimes has been described as “the most successful of all modern English operas”. The opera is distinguished by a series of Interludes, linking the scenes in each of the three acts and thereby ensuring continuity of construction. Realising the popularity of the Interludes, Britten took the most compact four and placed them together as a single work piece in four sections. The result is Four Sea Interludes, rich and evocative pieces which encapsulate the spirit of the opera and the atmosphere of the Suffolk coast. The “Storm” interlude is much admired by hi-fi buffs for its incredible sound.

Frank Bridge’s The Sea is a richly atmospheric work, sumptuously orchestrated and full of ravishing melodies which proved a great influence on a young Benjamin Britten (his pupil) – in particular the haunting third movement “Moonlight”. Handley and the Ulster Orchestra perform the work with brilliance and heartfelt compassion.

Bax’s Prelude, On the Sea Shore makes a colourful and atmospheric companion to the masterly Bridge and Britten pieces on the disc. Completing this collection is Stanford’s The Fisherman of Loch Neagh and What He Saw, a distinctive, sharply contrasted, colourful and atmospheric work – especially picturesque, in part because of the Irish melodies woven into it. It was Stanford’s intense Irishness which in fact protected him from the Teutonic influences in British music during his earlier years.

This collection is sure to inspire all lovers of British orchestral music.

This CD is also released as MP3.

This record gives an excellent introduction to twentieth-century English programme music.
Tower Records, Guide to Classical Music

The performance is beautifully realised with ravishing tones…
Classical Express

The 11-year-old Britten was ‘knocked sideways’ when he heard Bridge’s marvellous The Sea, which here comes after the former’s five orchestral sections from Peter Grimes. The Bax work is a realisation from sketches by Graham Parlett, whereas Stanford’s 1914 tone poem has more obvious Celtic references. Superb performances under Handley, as you’d expect…
Classic FM Magazine


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