- Symphony No. 6, Op 80
- Symphony No. 8, Op 132 (Hommage à Teihard de Chardin)
- Soliloquy for cello & orchestra, Op. 57
Like nineteenth century Austrian composer Anton Bruckner, twentieth century English composer Edmund Rubbra specialized in contrapuntal symphonies -- all of which, one way or another, are dedicated to God. Unlike Bruckner's symphonies, which come in only the standard four-movement structure, however, Rubbra's symphonies come in many different shapes and sizes. Of the two symphonies on this disc, while the "Sixth" is in the standard four-movement fast -- slow -- scherzo -- fast form, the "Eighth" is in an unusual three-movement form arranged slow -- fast -- slow. But beyond structure, Rubbra's symphonies differ from Bruckner's because they all have brightly glowing colors and compelling dramatic constructions. Brilliantly performed here by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Norman del Mar, both symphonies are examples of Rubbra at his best. The "Sixth" is a completely convincing work of formidable drive and amazing power. And the "Eighth" is even better: dedicated to Catholic theologian Teilhard de Chardin, the symphony is a work of immense striving and profound spiritual strength that could persuade even an agnostic in the reality of faith. The addition of Rubbra's warmly soulful "Soliloquy for cello and orchestra" with Vernon Handley leading the London Symphony Orchestra with soloist Rohan de Saram is a wonderful bonus. Recorded in stereo, Lyrita's sound is clear, clean, deep, and true.