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Cat. No. CHSA 5127 Price: 11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5127 - Holst: Orchestral Works, Volume 3
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Available From: 16 September 2013

Chandos CHAN 5127

Holst: First Choral Symphony; The Mystic Trumpeter – Susan Gritton, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

Composed originally in 1904 and revised in 1912, The Mystic Trumpeter received only two performances in Holst’s lifetime, and it was not revived until 1980. Holst based this work on a poem from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The influence of Hindu thought is clearly present throughout the piece, while musically there are fingerprints of his later style too, particularly in the use of bitonality (two different keys used simultaneously). The ending, calm and beautifully serene, is wholly characteristic of the mature Holst’s ability to do the unexpected.

Holst drafted the First Choral Symphony in 1923, shortly after his largely unsuccessful attempt at grand opera with The Perfect Fool. The mixed reception that the Symphony received was to some extend provoked by his choice of texts. All are by Keats, but they are still vastly different one from another. Holst chose them for their ability to stimulate his musical imagination, and the fact that, verbally, they followed little or no sequence was of no great concern to him. In the texts from Endymion, for example, his exuberant side is given free rein, while Ode on a Grecian Urn reveals another side, one of calm and composure. ‘Fancy’, from Extracts from an Opera, is set as a whirling Scherzo, ‘Folly’s Song’ serving as a contrasting earthbound trio. Holst himself said of this Symphony: ‘I think the work as a whole is the best thing I have written.’

Reviews

                        **** (Excellent Album)          ****(Exceptional Sound)
Michel Fleury – Classical magazine (France) – April 2014  

 "... Andrew Davis’s performance is well done in fine sound..."
Roger Hecht - American Record Guide - March/April 2014

 “…this is an excellent disc of truly excellent music…”  -  Lynn René Bayley

“… This is a recording to which I will be returning, particularly for the Choral Symphony. Warmly recommended.”  - Richard A Kaplan

Fanfare – March/April 2014

Critics Choice – Vocal

“… This is a musical treat which is a must for any lover of Holst and the British Choral tradition.”
Jeremy Dibble – Gramophone magazine – December 2013   

 “… this is a fine performance, subtly recorded to do justice  to Holst’s always sensitive and lucid orchestration.”

John Warrack – International Record Review – November 2013   

                           Performance ****       Recording ****
Daniel Jaffé - BBC Music magazine - December 2013

"... Gritton sings it [Mystic Trumpeter] ravishingly." ****
Andrew Clements - The Guardian - 18 Ocotber 2013

                         Performance *****       Sonics *****
"This is in every way possible one of the finest discs of Holst’s music that I have heard in a long time... Here Susan Gritton, in absolutely radiant voice, gives an unmatchable account of the piece. Her diction is impeccable ... the balance between her voice and the orchestra is perfect... The dynamic range of this recording is astonishing. It captures both the breathtaking pianissimos Davis achieves from his string players and the shattering organ-capped choral cliaxes - the latter prosuced without an sense of strain. The choice of Fairfields Halls Croydon as the recording venue is an excellent one as it provides a warm and spcious acoustic that both these works require..."
Graham Williams - SA-CD.net - 28 September 2013

 

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