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Cat. No. CHAN 10797 Price: 10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10797 - BBCNOW / Gamba - Overtures from the British Isles
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Available From: 16 December 2013

Chandos CHAN 10797

Overtures from the British Isles. Austin: The Sea Venturers; Cowen: The Butterfly’s Ball; Gardiner: Overture to a Comedy; Coleridge-Taylor: The Song of Hiawatha; Bantock: The Frogs; Sullivan: Macbeth; Mackenzie: The Little Minister; Stanford: Oedipus tyrannus – BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rumon Gamba

Rumon Gamba and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales present a collection of rarely heard overtures from the British Isles. Among these is Sir Frederic Cowen’s The Butterfly’s Ball (1901), illustrating a popular children’s poem by William Roscoe. All is vividly evoked by Cowen’s pleasing melodic lines and delicate instrumental colour. It is easy to see why, in its day, the piece was a firm favourite, being played twenty-six times at the Proms between 1900 and 1940. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor achieved immediate success early in his career with his four-part cantata cycle collectively known as Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha. The Overture, composed in 1899, was intended as a prelude to the complete cycle but is now rarely heard in this context. Indeed, very little of the material in this Overture comes from the other Hiawatha pieces, the principal theme being the spiritual ‘Nobody knows the trouble I see, Lord’. Perhaps better known as a leading baritone of his generation, Frederic Austin was also a composer of some achievement. In his tuneful and exciting concert overture The Sea Venturers, from 1936, he wanted to evoke ‘something of the lives and character of English seamen who… took peril and pleasure as it came’.


 “… having these eight colourful, engaging, and rarely heard works in one place is recommendation in itself. Sound on the new disc is full and rich, and the presentation is excellent with notes on the composers and works. Chandos Records continues to earn respect for the quality and imagination of their offerings, and I hope they will, as Gamba hints, continue to explore this repertoire… I encourage the acquisition of this release …”

Ronald E Grames – Fanfare – September/October 2014

"... Many of these charming pieces were written for the theatre, like MacKenzie’s Overture to The Little Minister, Gardiner’s Overture to a Comedy and Bantok’s The Frogs. All this music is robust and sparkling with inventive orchestration, far from the self-effacing image we often have of this repertoire. The playing and recording throughout are first class. There is a special place in my heart for conductors such as Rumon Gamba, who till the fields of some lesser-known and very worthwhile composers."   ****
James McCarthy - Limelight magazine.com.au - 11 June 2014


                          IRR Outstanding 
Andrew Parker – International Record Review – February 2014


"This lively sequence shakes the archive dust from eight overtures by British composers ... None of the items is familiar in today’s concert hall ... he [Sullivan] is represented not by an operetta potpourri, but by the serious, if never ponderous, altogether fetching overture to Macbeth. Coleridge-Taylor’s overture to The Song of Hiawatha has a memorable, post-Dvorakian has a memorable eloquence; and Austin’s The Sea Venturers a genuine maritime evocativeness; blustery on the outside wistful in the middle. Standford’s Prelude to Oedipus Tyrannus is a striking lyrical piece."
Paul Driver - The Times (Culture magazine) -  27 January 2014

“… as Rumon Gamba’s nicely slick performances with BBCNOW show, these are all nicely proportioned pieces … they don’t deserve the total neglect they’ve suffered for the last three-quarters of a century.”  ***

Andrew Clements – The Guardian – 24 January 2014


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