Bliss: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; A Colour Symphony

Bliss: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; A Colour Symphony

by Richard HickoxRichard Hickox


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Why is it that Arthur Bliss never quite attained the same status in the pantheon of twentieth century English composer as Elgar, Holst, or Vaughan Williams? He certainly had the skill. As music, his scores are superbly wrought, brilliantly orchestrated, and often quite effective. But he lacked what might be called a distinctive compositional personality. Put on any of his pieces from his insouciant ballet "Checkmate" to his choral-orchestral masterpiece "Morning Heroes" and try to identify those characteristics that are specifically Bliss'. The forms are off-the-shelf post-Romanticism. The harmonies are standard-issue early modernism. And, worst of all, the tunes are entirely forgettable. Even in this outstanding 2006 Chandos recordings of his "A Colour Symphony" and "Violin Concerto," it's nearly impossible to identify the composer. Richard Hickox, arguably the finest contemporary English conductor, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, surely one of the better of the BBC's national orchestras, turn in an exciting performance of the four-movement "A Colour Symphony" and Lydia Mordkovitch, a former Oistrakh pupil who makes her home in England, turns in an incredibly virtuosic performance of the three-movement "Violin Concerto." But none of it sticks in the memory, and for all the strength and commitment of the musicians, Bliss' music fades as soon as it's over. Chandos' sound is big, clear, and deep.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/17/2006
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115138021
catalogNumber: 10380
Rank: 175575


  1. A Colour Symphony, for orchestra, Op. 24, F. 106
  2. Concerto for violin & orchestra, Op. 79, F. 111

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