Magazine article Gramophone

Brian: Festal Dance. Symphonies-No 5, Wine of Summer

Magazine article Gramophone

Brian: Festal Dance. Symphonies-No 5, Wine of Summer

Article excerpt

Brian

Festal Dance. Symphonies--No 5, 'Wine of Summer' (a); No 19; No 27 (a) Roderick Williams bar Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins Dutton Epoch [F] [SACD] CDLX7314 (65' * DDD/DSD)

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This disc is something special. It features some of Brian's most attractive scores including one of my very favourites, the Wine of Summer Symphony (1937), an earlier recording attempt of which foundered many years ago--and some of the best playing any Brian works have received, as well as vibrantly clear sound quality. This allows every detail of Brian's unique scoring to be heard; the effect in the early Festal Dance (1908) and Fifth Symphony in particular is stunning.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra's performances are beautifully balanced and idiomatic. Brabbins, who has now become Brian's foremost living exponent, directs with complete understanding of the idiom and the orchestra responds with elan. Roderick Williams is an ideal soloist in Wine of Summer, his superbly nuanced rendering of Brian's notes and Lord Alfred Douglas's verses fully the equal of Brian Rayner Cook's pioneering interpretations last century. …

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