- Symphony No. 5 for organ & orchestra, Op. 74
- The Vision of Judgement, for soprano, tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 29
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Britain's Lyrita label has reproduced a series of recordings made by a listener from BBC radio broadcasts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The sound quality is reasonable considering the source, but what's more significant is the almost forgotten repertoire. The standard narrative of 20th century music divides it between conservatives and followers of Continental avant-garde styles, but Lyrita's releases fall into a gray area that hasn't been much explored. Consider the music of Peter Racine Fricker, who taught for the last part of his career at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Tonally and in terms of instrumentation he follows Schoenberg at the point just before he abandoned tonality, but the aesthetic of the main work, the oratorio "The Vision of Judgement" (1957), is that of the big British choral festival tradition. Based on English and Latin Anglo-Saxon texts, the work is written for chorus, soloists, and a very large orchestra. It is murky in spots, but sample the ecstatic finale "Theirs is the home that never shall know end" (track seven), with its beautifully balanced high-register writing for the fine soprano and tenor soloists, Jane Manning and Robert Tear. The single-movement "Symphony No. 5 for organ and orchestra, Op. 74," is even rarer; this recording preserves the work's premiere, and it has not often been played since then. It is not an organ concerto but a compact piece in a single movement with three sections, using the organ as a detail of orchestration. There is nothing in it to match the climaxes of "The Vision of Judgement," but it's unlike other music of its time. Another worthwhile release from Lyrita.