Magazine article Gramophone

Sullivan: Macbeth-Incidental Music

Magazine article Gramophone

Sullivan: Macbeth-Incidental Music

Article excerpt


Macbeth--incidental music. The Tempest--incidental music (exes). Marmion Overture

Mary Bevan, Fflur Wyn sops Simon Callow spkr

BBC Singers; BBC Concert Orchestra / John Andrews

Dutton Epoch (M) (3) [SACD] 2CDLX7331

(127' * DDD/DSD)

A premiere recording of a major orchestral work by Arthur Sullivan in the year 2016? Incredibly, this generously filled set contains three. Earlier recordings of Marmion have been heavily cut, and only excerpts from the incidental music to The Tempest and Sullivan's 1888 incidental music to Macbeth have ever been committed to disc--until now.

The Tempest is probably the most familiar, and it's a superb achievement. Sullivan composed it in Leipzig at the age of 19, and his debt to Mendelssohn is so obvious as to be hardly worth remarking upon. What really is extraordinary is the freshness and poetry with which Sullivan makes that language his own. In his melodic inspiration and sense of atmosphere, Sullivan here shows himself easily the equal of all but the greatest of his continental contemporaries. …

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