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Cat. No. CHAN 9757 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9757 - Bainton/ Clifford, Vol. 1: Orchestral Works
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Available From: 16 September 1999
Clifford’s Symphony 1940 was started in 1938 and completed in 20 August 1940, the closing bars written during one of the first air raids on London. The BBC recorded the movements of the Symphony separately during the war for the ‘Special Music’ broadcasts. In February 1946 it was performed in Sydney Town Hall in an all-Australian programme. Conducted by the American Maurice Abravanel, Clifford shared the programme with his friend John Gough’s The Wallaby Track. At the time it was reported as a seminal concert, celebrating the achievement of Australian Music. Since a BBC Concert in 1950 it has, however, remained unplayed.

Gough is intriguing because he was so avid in evoking Australia in music, and also because his celebrity was so short-lived since he died at a comparatively young age. His aim was to write characteristically Australian music, and he became known briefly for his orchestral piece The Wallaby Track, first heard in 1929, which had a dozen or so performances and in which Clifford found ‘a nostalgic longing for the smell of gum trees’. The Serenade was written for Clifford’s wedding in 1931 and it has not been performed since the 1930s.

Edgar Bainton emigrated from Newcastle-uopn-Tyne in 1934 on his appointment as Director of the New South Wales State Conservatorium in Sydney. The Symphony in D minor (his second) was written in Sydney and first performed there in 1941. It had originated at the time of his last holiday in England before he left for Australia, and was first conceived as a tone poem inspired by Swinburne’s poem Thalassa. The Manchester Guardian critic Neville Cardus, a wartime resident of Sydney, thought the Symphony ‘the apotheosis of a great period in English culture’. It had not been heard in the UK and, since Bainton’s death, only rarely in Australia.

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