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Hyperion releases November 2011
Purcell to Brian

An exciting batch, but some of our reactions perhaps surprising?

Great to have back on Helios The King's Consort's 1989 recordings of two Purcell Odes of 1692 & 1695 [CDH55327].

Robert King
is of course a renowned Purcell authority and these accounts reflect scholarship of the day.

Amazing music and great accounts with the younger James Bowman and the best early music singers of that exciting time plus the New College Oxford Choir. Fascinating to hear this alongside the pioneering MacKerras version (another twenty years earlier) in which I was involved through my young son proudly taking a part as soloist in Hail Bright Cecilia [Archiv, still available].


Jonathan Plowright’s Homage to Paderewski [Hyperion 67903] is the first recording of a memorial piano album published by Boosey & Hawkes in 1942. The 22 composers include Bartók, Arthur Benjamin, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Chaminade, Goossens, Milhaud, Martinu, Schelling, Weinberger Wieniawski, and a Benjamin Britten piece for two pianos which didn't quite make it into the album. It is a good disc to enjoy playing straight through, and makes me eager to catch up with his other compilation, Hommage à Chopin.

Plowright has been one of my favourite pianists since his participation in the never-to-be-forgotten pianoworks festivals in Blackheath achieved with an impressive array of master pianists, several of them regular Hyperion recording artists. See & hear him in Paderewski's little known piano sonata.

Brahms Lieder - Vol 3 [Hyperion CDJ33123]
Wach auf, mein Herzensschöne Erlaube mir, fein's Mädchen
Mein Mädel hat einen Rosenmund Ständchen,
Der Kuss
An eine Äolsharfe, Magyarisch,
Die Schale der Vergessenheit, Mein wundes Herz verlangt,
Im Garten, Lerchengesang Serenade An den Mond
In Waldeseinsamkeit, Auf dem Schiffe Es hing der Reif
Ein Wandere Die Sonne scheint nicht mehr
Wo gehst du hin, du Stolze? Es steht ein Lind

Simon Bode (tenor) & Graham Johnson (piano)

Graham Johnson demonstrates further the phenomenal depth of his knowledge in the expert programming of this recital and his extensive notes will surely become part of a book?
This new volume has many lesser known lieder; there are folksong transcriptions and the five songs of Op 49 are given in their entirety.

The young German tenor Simon Bode has a delightfully fresh voice & is one to try to hear live if he makes it across the Channel. The two make for another great partnership in Johnson's long career.

McEwen & Vaughan Williams

McEwen: Viola Concerto Vaughan Williams: Suite For Viola And Orchestra Flos Campi
Lawrence Power (viola) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Brabbins

Hyperion: CDA67839

I found Flos Campi, with its wordless choir, too "beautiful" for my taste, and preferred the smaller Suite. But the surprise was Sir John McEwen, his a strong major concerto which amply deserved new acquaintance and should be taken up more widely.

I agree with Hyperion that it is indeed a neglected gem of the viola repertoire and Power’s performance in this recording is all you'd want.

Dvorak's Cypresses for string quartet are brought together with the complete Love Songs from which they were taken, in a recording which also has Christoph Esenbach as perceptive pianist in the Piano Quintet. A valuable compilation [Avie AV 2234]

In Haydn’s Op 71 and Op 74 [Hyperion: CDA67781 & 67793] the Takács String Quartet display their "absolute unanimity of tone and style", as claimed, but failed to enchant us.

More than twenty years ago I had the illuminating experience of attending one of their earlier recording sessions in 1988 [Haydn Op 76 1-3, Decca 421 360-2] and interviewing the cellist Andras Fejer (founder member, still with them) at the Wigmore Hall.

I was able to see the quartet's unique rehearsal technique then, with three members of the quartet on stage playing, whilst a fourth (ringing the changes) listened and commented. No detail escaped their scrutiny, whether for concert or when recording. Perhaps such perfectionism is counter-productive, and readers will know we are not completists.

Peter Grahame Woolf

P.S. Hyperion does not normally release recordings in December, but has made a special exception fo the BBC's "prom" performance of Havergal Brian's Gothic, Brian's notorious "monster symphony" launching a series of choral proms at The Royal Albert Hall (its third performance there) [CDA67971/72 106 mins].








Inexplicably the BBC opted neither to televise nor film the event, so for visual help I reproduce the image hiding under the discs in the jewel case tray!!

This is above all a work whose sheer scale makes its every rare performance an intensely "physical" event for all involved, whether as participants or as audience members.

I did hear it on the radio, given without an interval, but with regret that the BBC, out of their new policy for "websites and bloggers", did not invite us to cover it
[q.v. "Only a website"].

I had attended the Boult/1961 performance and have still vivid memories of the 90-year old composer, in tweeds and looking more like a farmer than a musician, joining Sir Adrian & the BBCSO on the crowded patform.

This time round I heard it on the radio, but we don't review uninvited...

The CDs are well engineered and it is good to have the Gothic on a permanent form again [see our review of the SlovakRSO/Lenard CDs [ Naxos].

Particularly valuable is the inclusion in the new one of an authorative analysis by Calum McDonald and, even more so, Martin Brabbins' descriptions of the logistics of the whole enterprise. I wish Hyperion well to bring this fine Brabbins/BBC Gothic to all corners of the globe.