York Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2

York Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2

5.0 1
by Andrew Davis
     
 

Around 1990 the British composer York Bowen was so thoroughly forgotten that libraries were deaccessioning his scores, but the energetic efforts of a York Bowen Society have succeeded in reviving his conservative but distinctive music, and here he is, championed by a major British conductor and orchestra. Bowen's work remained thoroughly defined by Romantic idioms,…  See more details below

Overview

Around 1990 the British composer York Bowen was so thoroughly forgotten that libraries were deaccessioning his scores, but the energetic efforts of a York Bowen Society have succeeded in reviving his conservative but distinctive music, and here he is, championed by a major British conductor and orchestra. Bowen's work remained thoroughly defined by Romantic idioms, even into the 1950s. He was influenced by the Russian school from Glazunov to Rachmaninov, and certainly by the dean of British symphonists, Edward Elgar, but there's a lightness in his music, with elegantly transparent orchestral textures, that's bound to be appealing to those who associate the Edwardian period with deadly pomposity. There's not a bit of it in these two symphonies. The album does not put its best foot forward with the "Symphony No. 1 in G major, Op. 4," a work that did not even receive its premiere until 2010. This was a student work, composed when Bowen was an 18-year-old student at the Royal Academy of Music. It is formally assured and already full of fresh ideas in orchestration, but it's exactly what you would expect from a young person with a full curriculum of Mendelssohn under his belt, and there's nothing very memorable about it. The "Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 31," is a different matter. Hear the big outer movements, perfectly paced through multiple sections to big brass high points, and the luscious Allegro scherzando (track 6), confusable with a neglected piece of cute Tchaikovskiana. Conductor Andrew Davis undeniably has a feel for the British orchestral music of this era, and the BBC Symphony, from the variety of wind combinations that demand crisp execution throughout to the harp that has to stand up to the whole orchestra with a flourish at the end of the "Symphony No. 2," acquits itself admirably. Recommended for fans of the English school.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/31/2011
Label:
Chandos
UPC:
0095115167021
catalogNumber:
10670
Rank:
95412

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York Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago