Listen to TRACK 2: BRIAN: Symphony No. 28 – I. Moderato
Havergal Brian’s extraordinary late creativity is almost unparalleled in musical history. Between the completion of Symphony No. 6 in 1948 and the end of his compositional life two decades later he wrote 26 symphonies. No. 6 marks a crucial point in his adoption of more concise forms and economy of expression in its single-movement span, a process taken even further in the brief but free polyphonic fantasia of No. 31. In Symphonies Nos. 28 and 29 Brian turned to the classical four-movement model but one which is wholly and idiosyncratically re-imagined. The intensity and even savagery of No. 28 is balanced by No. 29, Brian’s most lyrical late work.
Listen to TRACK 4: VILLA-LOBOS: Symphony No. 12 – III. Scherzo (Vivace)
Villa-Lobos’ Symphony No. 12, his last, was completed on his 70th birthday and shows no lessening of his powers, marrying symphonic craftsmanship with explosive energy, harmonic richness, and rhythmic vitality; a fitting summation of his symphonic canon. Uirapuru is one of his most original works, couched in a modernism that teems with colour and creates a specifically Brazilian sound world without drawing on folkloric elements, whilst Mandu-Çarará is a notably inventive, lush, and exciting but little-known secular cantata.
The flourishing genre of the comic opera had its roots in eighteenth-century Italian opera buffa, whose irrepressible brio was soon taken up outside the country’s borders. In France it produced opéra comiqueand operetta, and in German-speaking countries Spieloper and Viennese operetta. Some of the world’s most popular comic opera overtures, filled with gorgeous tunes, brilliant orchestration and race-to-the-finish endings, are presented here. They include staples of the concert repertoire such as Hérold’s dramatic Zampa, the textual delicacy of Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna and the vivid colour of Lortzing’s Zar und Zimmermann.
Listen to Track 6: HENZE: Violin Concerto No. 2: Divertimento
This disc concludes the collaboration on disc of violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved and composer Hans Werner Henze that began on 8.557738. That earlier disc contained the First and Third Violin Concertos where the violinist was joined by the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony. This new disc contains one new recording –& Il Vitalino Raddoppiato& – and the Violin Concerto No.2, where Henze is the conductor in an archive recording dating from 1991. Concertos 1-3 were issued by MDG 6011242, a decade ago. No.2 was first released on disc played by Brenton Langbein on Decca, a 1971 performance also conducted by Henze. In later years however Skærved was Henze’s violinist of choice and closely associated with Henze’s string works.
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