Friday, 5 December 2008

Anthony Collins conducts British Music

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Overture di Ballo (1870) Henry BALFOUR GARDINER (1877-1950)Shepherd Fennel’s Dance (1911) Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961)Shepherd’s Hey (1908-13) Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1873-1958)Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (1910, rev. 1913 and 1919) Fantasia on Greensleeves (1934) Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)A Walk to the Paradise Garden from A Village Romeo and Juliet (1906) A Song of Summer (1929-1930) New Symphony Orchestra/Anthony Collins (Sullivan, Gardiner, Grainger); London Symphony Orchestra/Anthony Collins BEULAH 1PD26

I am not a great enthusiast of historical recordings. I guess it goes back to my teenage years when it was the latest release from the Beatles that mattered and not one of the ‘square’ hits from five years previously. However things change. In the same way that virtually every note performed by the ‘Fab Four’ is available on CD – bootleg or ‘official’ - the classical world too is concerned to preserve its heritage. But the question I ask about any historical recording is ‘Why do I want to buy this CD as opposed to a more recent and presumably more technically perfect recording?’ Moreover, with this Collins disc all the tracks were ‘laid down’ when I was either a couple of years old or not even thought of – so there is little sentimental attraction here. In the present case the answer is twofold. Firstly, the programme of this CD is a near perfect introduction to the pleasures of British music - counting Grainger as an honorary countryman - and secondly, the performance of some of these works is eye-opening to say the least...

...this is a fine CD that would make a good introduction to English music for anyone who had yet to make that step. The sound is not perfect – but yet again I am just a little younger than these recordings and neither am I! However, what makes it a fantastic disc is the sheer beauty of the sound, the attention to detail and the depth of engendered emotion – especially in the Delius.

Please read my full review at MusicWeb International

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