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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2016

I don’t imagine that Chagrin’s symphonies are going to do much to alter the landscape of music history or to have wide audience appeal; but I, for one, am grateful to Naxos for bringing them to our attention, and to Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for making the effort to learn them and present them in such strong and convincing performances. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Stepthen Estep
American Record Guide, May 2016

…these two symphonies…have value, …they usually aim for the head rather than the heart, even in the moments that surge and lunge. …the performance and sonics are excellent. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Geoff Brown
BBC Music Magazine, May 2016


…Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra remain excellent guides to the score’s closely worked wonders. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Stephen Greenbank
MusicWeb International, April 2016

In the brief Scherzo, Chagrin shows a virtuosic hand in the expert handling of orchestral colour, whilst in the Finale the dramatic forces are unleashed once again.

Martyn Brabbins proves an enthusiastic advocate in these persuasive accounts. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, April 2016

…these are world première recordings given a top notch initial outing by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Martyn Brabbins. Definitely not second tier musicians. © 2016 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, April 2016

…the BBC SO respond to the manner born under Martyn Brabbins’s unfailingly lucid lead, and the recording is realistic and helpfully detailed to match. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer, March 2016

Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra provide first rate performances. © 2016 The Classical Reviewer Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2016

Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Philharmonic give us enthusiastic readings that bring out the salient qualities of the symphonies. This Francis Chagrin, had he been able to devote his full attention to concert works, might have become one of the brighter lights of the modernist century. These works show a fully formed original master, writing moving and even exciting music. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, March 2016

Movements of the symphonies display a range of different feelings and tensions. Unity is created partly by re-workings of underlying themes. One is aware that the composer has absolute mastery of orchestration. More importantly, he has something significant to say. There is no sense of just note-spinning. Each moment is artfully designed.

This is a special recording. The commitment of both Brabbins and the BBC Orchestra is evident.

This is powerful music—and it matters. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, March 2016

Brabbins and the orchestra play with clarity and rhythmic sharpness, …This CD may not spur a full revival of Chagrin’s work, but it takes an important step in bringing this neglected composer into the repertoire. © 2016 Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, March 2016

Naxos continues its enterprising excavation of neglected composers with this intriguing new disc. If Chagrin does not turn out to be a hidden treasure, there are still rewards here. …The two symphonies are among his most important orchestral works. Both are dramatic, even passionate—not least in the beautiful slow movements—and full of contrasts, both within and between movements. Undeservedly neglected, they reveal Chagrin’s mastery of form and colour. © 2016 Classical CD Choice Read complete review

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, February 2016

Martyn Brabbins is always up for re-mapping the periphery of the repertoire as he has proved with allure and conviction time after time…

The music is well recorded—not a luxury item but clear, honest, transparent and powerful.

A significant, thoughtful and certainly not bland addition to the catalogue. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Andrew Clements
The Guardian, February 2016

As the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s fiercely engaged performances under Martyn Brabbins show, both symphonies are thoroughly worthwhile works, which for all Chagrin’s self-declared “cosmopolitan” inclinations, seem to fit well into the British symphonic template of the 1950s and 60s. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2016

Named Alexander Paucker at birth in 1905, Francis Chagrin, later described himself as being ‘Romanian by birth, British by nationality and cosmopolitan by inclination. The disc’s programme notes detail his colourful life that eventually brought him to Britain in 1936 where he was to make his home, having studied with Paul Dukas and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Already involved in writing film scores while in France, it was in the field of television, cinema and commercials that he wrote an abundance of music in order to give his family the standard of living he had enjoyed with his wealthy family in Bucharest. The quantity was quite staggering and included music for over 200 major films, and though it left him limited time for composing concert music, he did work in most genres with two symphonies among his most important orchestral scores. They were tonal in content, and fitted comfortable into mainstream mid-20th century style that would, for easy comparison, be contemporary with Walton and Malcolm Arnold. That said, I would be misleading if I gave the impression that they leap out at you and instantly claim a place in your memory, the opening two movements of the First symphony having an uncompromising bleakness. Completed in 1959, it then has an invigorating scherzo leading to a final allegro that is suitably vivacious. It is a mood that continues into the Second Symphony, a very powerful and colourful score that should be included in the standard British repertoire. More extrovert than the first, and packing more impact into the outer movements, this is a very major discovery on disc. The BBC Symphony and conductor, Martyn Brabbins, play as if they too feel they have found hidden treasure in a very fine BBC Studio recording. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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