Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

GOOSSENS Symphony No. 1 (1940); Phantasy Concerto (1942)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox / Howard Shelley, piano

Composer/conductor member of a famous English family of musical siblings, Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens (26 May 1893 – 13 June 1962) was a Beecham protegé, but ended his life under a cloud, "destroyed" by a scandal. He was best known as conductor in Cincinatti and later in Sydney, but occasionally heard in England, including from the BBC studios, where I heard him conduct.

This impressively recorded CD will be particularly noted as having been Richard Hickox's 282nd and last for Chandos (and Howard Shelley has scored over a century with Chandos and Hyperion). The recording industry supports lost causes of music which concert promoters shy away from. Those figures are mind-boggling in terms of purchasing competition in these hard times...

Whatever, a welcome to a splendid recording achievement from Melbourne. I doubt if this first symphony will gain a revival from this disc, though presumably there will be some broadcasts. But the Phantasy Concerto is quite a discovery, lots of original ideas and treatment of them (based on Cobbett's one-movement Phantasy championship) and I have eagerly put it on my iPod for repeated listening.

The notes are all very full from Lewis Foreman, a champion of British music of the period, and the 25 mins concerto is well worth a hearing and ought to be featured on Radio 3. Perhaps college student pianists will be prompted to take it up; I hope so.

Peter Grahame Woolf